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Journal Journal: Slashdot just isn't "it" anymore 2

My current gig is working on a major newspaper's website. Now that I have access to logs and stuff of a MSM, it is very interesting to see where the traffic comes from—and slashdot doesn't really figure into the mix, even though we've been linked.

The three biggest sources of hits are Drudge, Digg and Fark, in that order, with Drudge being larger than #2 by an order of magnitude.

Least you think this is a small-time site, the whole enchilada gets 6 million hits a month by users, sans bots.

First Person Shooters (Games)

Journal Journal: Hope you had a great fourth 1

It rained here, so we didn't get to any of the parades.

I'll probably pass on the fireworks tonight, as I have to get up at 5:00 am tomorrow.

User Journal

Journal Journal: A Prediction 4

If my prior comments on wikipedia are any guide, after the post drops off the front page, a wikipedia editor with mod points will mod-bomb all my (currently 5,5,5,4) comments in the Wikipedia story.

The wikipedia administration, for whatever reason, is extraordinarily defensive and hates to see criticism remain un-suppressed. If this is reminiscent of a cult, well, if the show fits....


Journal Journal: Innate Gender Preferences in Toys 25 Million Years Old? 2

Some 25 million years ago, humans and vervet monkeys diverged from a common ancestor. In very rough terms, perhaps one and a quarter million human generations, or five million vervet generations, have been brought forth upon the Earth since that common ancestor lived. Of course, many differences have evolved between humans and vervets in those 25 million years: among other things, human parents choose toys for their children; vervet parents do not.

But after all that time and genetic change, and despite studies attributing human children's toy preferences to adult stereotypes, a new study by Dr. Gerianne Alexander finds that vervet males, like human boys, prefer toy trucks and balls, while vervet females and human girls prefer dolls and toy cooking pots. What's more, the vervets play with the toys much as human children do: males roll trucks on the ground, females inspect dolls (apparently) for genitalia. Previously on Slashdot: Harvard president Larry Summers and his daughter's "baby truck", Gender and gaming.

[Submitted and, of course, rejected.]

User Journal

Journal Journal: Slashdot fans! Help me! 9

I've got a number of fans, and I've never asked for anything other than that you appreciate my comments here.

But now I need your help.

A spark jumped from my finger and now my Touchstream LP keyboard is dead. Like the parrot in the Python skit. Dead.

Windows plug-and-play doesn't recognize it at all.

So I need your help.

Can anyone either

  • suggest possible repairs
  • or, tell me where I can get a replacement?

Neither of these are easy: the keyboard uses capacitance to track fingers, so the spark may have burnt those out, or -- since it doesn't respond at all -- the main circuit board may be fried.

And the manufacturer of the Touchstream has been bought up, and Touchstream keyboards are no longer manufactured.

Please, Obi-Wan, ^HHHH er, Slashdot fans, you're my only hope.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Rita - over, no real damage 4

Turns out that from our end, it was nothing.

We rode out the storm; mostly wind, a bit of light rain, and some green lightning (I was unable to get a picture of it--boo!), and that was it.

Saturday, the cable was out, so no TV or internets. We drove back to our place, hauling back the cans and water.

Observable damage:

  • A handful of trees had lost limbs,
  • One abandoned car dealership's canopy was torn from its mounts and was lying on the ground,
  • A store's fabric sign was ripped,
  • Two large flags (10-15 ft/3-4.5 m in width) were ripped and the ends were tattered, and
  • There were a billion leaves on the ground.

No mass destruction here, and the end result was (besides the green lightning) no worse than a normal Spring storm... in summer.

It is still as hot as hell (~90 f/32 c), so we didn't even get a post-storm cooling. :(

Wireless Networking

Journal Journal: Rita Update - more desertion 7

I updated the flickr, as I took a few shots on the freeway (they're the last three). It looks like everyone who was going, is gone, because there are nearly no cars on the freeway.

Now it's just us chickens left.

This will probably be it for my updates, as one of the SO's clients invited us to stay at her place. If they have internets, then I'll try to post more later (assuming the power stays on, yadda, yadda).

If not, see you on the other side.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Rita Update - Houston is boarded up

We took a walk around last night and took some shots: check it.

It is really weird - the place is like a ghost town. We saw a few people walking and there were a handful of cars, but the majority of folks are gone.

The newsman said Rita will probably drop to a Cat 3 right before it hits, and she's sliding East towards Louisiana, but we'll still get much rain and wind.

I found a nice site with graphs and charts and Google Earth Hacks has some nice Rita overlays (use the site search for 'Rita' as the links are not working).

Updates as they come...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Rita Update - found more water, gas is really hard to find 1

I invited one of my Guitar mates to crash at our place if his caves in - he lives in a really flimsy place (aluminum roof), so if the wind blows hard enough, it will probably go. I also spoke with our next door neighbor to let her know to bang on our door if she needed anything, but she said she was going to stay with friends in north Houston.

The SO took me to work in her car this morning, so we can preserve the gas in the Prius. Since the Prius has nearly a full tank, we'll use that if we have to go to Austin, San Antonio or Dallas because it can go father on less. According to some of the people at work who have friends/relatives who've already left, Dallas is close to 20 hours away (normally 3 1/2) and San Antonio/Austin are about 12 each (normally about 3 as well). I guess most people are going north. Meanwhile, I-10 is a parking lot (picture).

On the way to work, we stopped at the local grocery store and they had water bottles coming out the wazoo! We picked up three cases, so that should take care of the water needs for at least a week.

Every gas station within a 2 mile radius of home is kaput. We didn't want to drive around any more and waste gas trying to find gas, but the SO found an actual operational gas station after she dropped me off. Yay!

The Gimp

Journal Journal: Rita update - gas is running out, cash is gone 8

Coming home from work today was weird. All of the traffic out of town was clogged and just an awful mess. Going in to town was like there was no one alive. My trip usually takes about 25 minutes, but this time it took under 15. I always get off the freeway on an earlier exit and then take the side-streets around the mess (the exit ramp that is closest to me is the worst), but this time, there was---literally---no cars on the ramp at all.

Later, I passed 7 gas stations on the way back from guitar practice:

3 of them had long lines, stretching into the street, blocking traffic. No one seemed out of control, just everyone was trying to get their gas and go on their way.

4 of them -- all Shell stations -- were sold out. Some had plastic bags over their pump nozzles, others had some kind of red plastic placard locked onto the nozzle. Many people kept driving into these stations, probably because they figured they'd found the ONE station in all of Houston that didn't have lines, but they quickly drove on when it was obvious that there was no fuel to be had.

The banks have all but shut down. A co-worker's husband was unable to get cash this afternoon. They live on the west side of town--Katy--where everyone who is leaving to San Antonio or Austin will pass through.

My SO was able to get cash, though. She told me that the manager at the branch she went to wasn't letting any teller swap money (i.e., trading another teller a hundred-dollar bill for four twenties), so what you got was what you got. By the time she left the bank, all but one window was closed (the other tellers ran out of cash). I think all the ATMs are dry as well.

I don't believe you can buy water here, unless you are very lucky and time your visit to when the delivery truck arrives at the store. On the way to guitar practice, I stopped by a "high end" supermarket (Eatzi's) to get a snack, and I noticed that all their water was gone. This isn't some cheap old Ozarka or whatever; these waters easily cost more than $1.50 for a bottle ("designer water").


Journal Journal: Is that the best you can do? I'm down here--come and get me! 3

(cross-posted to fark)

Here in HooVille, people are paying attention probably more than usual because of Katrina. I hit the supermarket last night to grab some stuff to round out our pantry. Wow - almost all of the cans were gone, and there was not one bottle of water on the shelves. A clerk brought out a pallette of bottled waters while I was standing there; I grabbed two cases before the gathering crowd attacked.

My SO reported this AM that the lines for gas are very long. My car is full, but her's is about 5/8ths full. We'll try topping her off this evening (hopefully the stations won't run out!)

This afternoon a coworker had to go to Lowes (Home Improvement store) and reported that they were completely out of generators (idiot people, where are you going to get gas and an electrician to hook up your home circuits?).

I checked my email and found this little jem:

From: "City of Pearland" <>
Subject: Important Message from the Mayor
Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2005 12:20:27 -0500

This is an emergency message from the office of the Mayor of the City
of Pearland. A very serious hurricane is approaching the area. There is
a significant probability that it will impact Pearland. Mayor Tom Reid
has issued a mandatory evacuation for those in flood prone areas and
for those who reside in mobile homes or other non-sturdy structures, and
for those with special transportation needs to leave as soon as
possible. In order to avoid heavily congested traffic conditions and limited
available routes, residents are urged to leave prior to 6 p.m. today,
Wednesday Sept. 21.

For those in need of transportation, buses will be available at 2:30
this afternoon at Jamison Middle School, 2505 Woody Rd. (immediately
north of 518 across from Frost National Bank), and Pearland Jr. High East
(one block north of 518 on Old Alvin Rd.) Persons who wish to leave but
are unable to get to those locations may call 281-652-1953,
281-652-1954, or 281-652-1960. For detailed information, go to

9/21/05 11:30 a.m.

Well the problem is that the entire "city" of Pearland IS A FLOOD-PRONE AREA!

So, all you who are also in the path, stay safe and dry - don't be the fool this year who kills him/herself by driving into the water on the submerged road.

Updates as they come...

The Matrix

Journal Journal: Houston Gas Price: $2.99/gal 13

Holy COW - I'm now paying just over $17/week!!!

This is totally outrageous. I mean, just a few weeks ago I was paying $14-15/week.

With my car requiring a fill-up every two weeks, this is going to be a major burden. My gas mileage has sucked a lot because I have to run the A/C all the time (thanks to the 100 degree -- sorry, 115 degree heat indexed weather).

I would consider riding a bike, but there's no way I could pedal the ~ 22 mile one-way distance to work every day (assuming I could take a shower when I got to work), 'cause it would take too long and I have too much stuff to haul (laptop + books + guitar).

Dang this sucks.

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"You stay here, Audrey -- this is between me and the vegetable!" -- Seymour, from _Little Shop Of Horrors_