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November 29, 2002

Let me know if you have a website

I'm getting tired of reading my own weblog and a few computer-related sites done by people I don't know personally. If you know me, and you have a site of your own, let me know!

In other important news

It isn't hard to find explanations of a golf handicap (for instance, here, and here). I found it a little more challenging to actually find out how handicaps are calculated (probably operator error, I know). The congu system isn't the one officially sanctioned by The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews but it gives you an idea of how it works.

November 26, 2002

Mozilla 1.2

I installed a new version of mozilla for the first time in about two months. Fixes a few minor problems I was having for the last few weeks, as well as makes me feel warm and fuzzy for having the latest features and fixes...

The build I installed is a 1.2 release candidate. Most of the cool new stuff that I'm aware of like Bayensian spam filtering and folder views are in the 1.3 cycle which is just starting, so I'll probably upgrade again in a little while, but enough fun for one day...

Some Sensible advice from the BBC

Slashdot highlighted a BBC article on spyware on your computer this morning. The most interesting bit: the article recommends the best defense is to stop using Internet Explorer, since most adware and spyware makers target the infamous swiss-cheese browser.

I don't know if this article had anything to do with the recent reports of a huge IE security hole, but since we're in an MS-bashing mood... if you don't have the energy to wade through the MS security bulletin yourself, the summary is that a standard module installed with all versions of IE (except on Windows XP) allows malicious websites to do anything at all with your computer if you visit their site.

The best part, though, is halfway down the security bulletin where it says

What caveats are associated with the patch? Although the patch does address the vulnerability, there is a niche scenario through which a patched system could, under unusual conditions, be made vulnerable again. This scenario results because it is not possible to set the "Kill Bit" used by one of the vulnerable components.

Translating that to English, it means that if you install the security update to fix the problem, the bad guy website can simply tell IE to install the vulnerable module again. IE has this "feature" that allows websites to specify exactly what functionality they need. Since the vulnerable module was originally written by MS, the browser thinks it it is ok to reinstall it. The solution recommended by Microsoft? Change IE's settings to never trust ActiveX controls that are provided my Microsoft (so that IE will warn you when a site tries to install a Microsoft control).

Yes, they're working on a more permanent fix, but the irony is just too delicious...

A pleasant end to a productive day

Kerry, I'm sorry that our phone conversation wasn't as cheerful as it should have been. I hope you have a great night's sleep. I love you.

After a productive day's school work, I took the late evening to enjoy Die Another Day, which - I'm happy to say - does justice to the Bond tradition.

On the way home, I tuned in to a little of After Hours, to round out the evening. I was treated to a great track by Mark Isham. I hadn't heard of him before, but he is apparently a quite successful film composer in addition to being a jazz trumpeter. I think I'll have to add Miles Remembered: The Silent Way Project to my wish list.

November 24, 2002

This is my new blogchalk:Canada,

This is my new blogchalk:
Canada, Newfoundland, St. John's, Cowan Heights, English, French, Christopher, Male, 26-30.

Pictures and Moving Pictures

Friday night Christiane and Richard invited me and Laura-Dawn to their house. We watched Insomnia. Despite the fair amount of vulgar language, I thought the movie was good. Intriguing and not too shallow.

Kerry Walker Standing in front of the Arts and Admin building on the campus of Dalhousie University

Saturday I did a little browsing for Christmas gifts. While I was out I had my latest roll of pictures developed. Some nice shots of YC and me jumping on the cousins' trampoline in my suit. As well, some nice pictures of my visit to Halifax in October, including the picture of Kerry at Dalhousie that I've included here. I'm particularly fond on that one.

November 23, 2002

Congratulations Dean and Kelly Headline

Congratulations Dean and Kelly

Headline says it all. Yesterday Rebecca Grace Brenton was born at 2:40 PM NDT in Corner Brook. She is beautiful and healthy at 3.7 kg (8lb 3 oz).

November 22, 2002

Guilty as Charged

Erin Bursey accused me of being "the kind of person that wears out a new song" when I first heard the Luna Halo CD last Friday. At the time I denied it, but now I have to confess, you were right Erin. I can't stop listening to Wait For You. I'll get sick of it in a while, I guess, but until then...

The Singularity

I've heard of the singularity before, but I never really paid attention until today. It started with this story on slashdot, which had several interesting comments 1 2 3. This, in turn, leads to me some new additions to my wishlist.

In more mundane news, I've decided to try shave every second day, but not trying to shave as close as possible, instead of shaving really well every third day. I expect this new game to yield many minutes of excitement.

...and on the work front: in my inbox this morning a link to Volker Holtmeyer's thesis translated into english. He was apparently working on line array modelling with the company that produces Ulysses, an acoustics modelling program. While this thesis doesn't really overlap any of my research, it does give a very readable and current overview of state-of-the-art industrial use of line array technology.

November 21, 2002


I'm not sure what's wrong with me, but I don't really want to post anything today. For posterity...

Yesterday I transferred the majority of my RRSP to an AGF mutual fund managed by Primerica. I can't help thinking that Nortel is going to rebound, but I'm really not managing my investment carefully enough, so time to put the responsibility in somebody else's hand. Perhaps if I have a little disposable income in the new year I'll take another stab at self-directed investing. Yeah, that's what I'll tell myself.

I discovered Luna Halo when Michael Burton brought a CD to FNL last Friday and it was playing afterwards during the social time. I must say, I'm really enjoying the Shimmer album. It's a little tough to choose what to link to since there seem to be about 5 semi-official web sites. I think lunahalo.com is the most recent, though.

I also updated my wish list again today. Just adding a few small things as I think of them.

November 19, 2002

Heard of the Content Cartel?

Until I write some more of my own rantings on the issue of Digital Rights Management and so on, I'll keep linking to others who have already done so. I'm a pretty poor activist, but if you have any concern at all for your freedom to enjoy our common cultural heritage, then take a few minutes and read about The Evil That is the DMCA, written by a very well-known Mac columnist.

Read "cultural heritage" as "ability to do what you want with music or movies, that you have legally purchased". The Content Cartel would like every entertainment experience you have to be provided by them, for a fee. Yes, pay-per-view everything. No lending friends the music of a small indie band, or copying an old out of print CD that you can't find at any stores. Sounds all tinfoil-hat-ish and paranoid, but its not as far fetched as you think...


Spotted this from Chris Nelson's weblog who in turn fount it on Eschaton (which I don't read regularly). Richard Perle is an advisor to the Bush administration. In a recent interview he said

The lesson of history is that democracies don't initiate wars of aggression, and if we want to live in a peaceful world, then there's very little we can do to bring that about more effective than promoting a democracy. People who live in democratic societies don't like to pay for massive military machines. Democratic societies don't empower their executives to make unilateral decisions to plunge countries into war. Wars have been started by tyrants who have complete control and who can squander the resources of their people to build up military machines.
Of course he is talking about countries besides the US, but what is amazing is that he doesn't realize how much his description is reminiscent of the United States.

November 17, 2002


I have been posting this week (as you can see below) but blogger is still having trouble connecting to my ftp server, so I only succeed in publishing my blog once in a while.

November 14, 2002

Wish list

Just as a service to friends and family who from time to time wish to buy me gifts, I am adding a wish list to the site. I'll try to keep it up to date, and of course, I never want anybody to feel obligated to give gifts, or use the wish list. I provide it merely as a convenience and source of ideas. I'll probably use it for myself as well, to keep track of things I'd like but I'm not planning to buy right away.

here's another entry for the soapbox

One of these days I'll get the soapbox up to date, but for now, I'll just toss this in here in the general weblog:

The EFF is encouraging US citizens to support the DMCRA. This bill is introduced in Congress to modify some of the more odious aspects of the DMCA. I don't have time right now to write down why it's bad, and it is disappointing that the average person seems to not know or care much about fair use rights. Sometime soon I'll write a (or finish one of my already half-written) small soapbox entries.

If you're somewhat interested and have a few minutes to read, the EFF has several DMCA-related documents on their website, including this white papar summarizing the actual negative effects of the DMCA in its first three years.

November 12, 2002

If you didn't already believe me, now I have proof

Still skeptical? See for yourself! http://thesource.ofallevil.com/

November 11, 2002

Hooray for Google!

I'm polishing my NECEC presentation today. Since I refuse to pay the toll($739 if you don't want to click the link and scroll to the bottom), I'm authoring my presentation in a great free office package. On the whole I give OpenOffice high marks - it's an incredible value that's for sure - but there are occasionally a few hiccups. For one, I couldn't easily discover how to display my formula in a white font. My presentation has a soothing blue background that the black text of the formulae tend to disappear into. So finally today I decide to see what I can do about it. 20 or 30 seconds and a Google search later I found this FAQ on the OOo site. Using the color {} command within the equation itself does seem a little obscure, but hey, it works. Yay for google.

November 09, 2002

Pictures from Qatar

A collegue of my mother posted some pictures from Qatar in some MSN photo albums for anybody interested:

I would have preferred a photo album service that made it easier to download the pictures, but hey... beggars, choosers and all that.

Kudos to Tom Petty

My familiarity with mainstream musicians is pretty poor, so I don't know much about Tom Petty, and I wouldn't have cared before I read this piece in Rolling Stone which I came across at mpt's blog. I don't know if I can think of anything to disagree with, and it sure is refreshing to hear of somebody in the music business who sees things for what they are. My respect for Tom Petty just went way up.

Also from mpt, The list of ten reasons ease of use doesn't happen on engineering projects. Interesting reading for those interested in good engineering design in general, not just software UI usability.

November 07, 2002

Updating is becoming annoying

Blogger has been mostly trouble for me these past few weeks. Every time I post something I have to publish half a dozen times before blogger's server can successfully connect to my FTP server at the university. One of these days I'll be all l33t and c001 and have my own weblog software and webserver running on my own computer, but for now I'll try to keep motivated enough to post with blogger.

On a better note, Kerry is having a great time in Orlando. I had a nice long chat on Tuesday. The conference is over today and she'll be back in Halifax tomorrow. Kerry, I hope catching up with schoolwork isn't too stressful!

Mom and dad emailed some more pictures, of dad relaxing on the apartment balcony as well as of their camping and snorkling trip last weekend.

Pastor Mark asked me to provide lighting for the 3:16 anniversary service on Monday Nov 18. That should be fun.

Now back to working on my paper presentation for NECEC 2002.

November 04, 2002

Monday, 2002-11-04

My long lost bag of cables has been found! Jon and Mark, you will get your guitar stands and pedals asap. Now if I could only track down that drum stool...

My parents said that I could take whatever I wanted from the kitchen, since most of it will be stored for the next three years anyway. That's going to be a big help to me in January, to not have to worry about pots, dishes and small kitchen appliances. I think I'll extend their offer to include towels and some other odds and ends, too.

On the home front, Uncle Geoff and his family are settling in. An amazing number of packing boxes have disappeared, yet a scary number remain. My cousins were registered for school today and uncle Geoff is over at the church today setting up his office.

I was called to sub for Wade Tetford last night at church. I hadn't played bass since well before YC, so even though one service was not really enough to satisfy my craving, it was quite fun.

Tonight I'm going to the library to pick up a few more papers for my research and thesis. Progress is slowly picking up, though I wish I had done more reading a few months ago. Not that I have so much to do now, but it would have been good to have read earlier some of the things I'm reading now.

There was one other interesting thing that happened this weekend: I saw the dress rehearsal of the SK8 with Elvis Stjoko tour kickoff show at Mile One Stadium. Tommy called me down to see if I could get in to see the lighting rig, and boy was it worthwhile. Production was by Fourth Phase, although I think the gear came from their Toronto location, which I heard they acquired by buying Westsun. The rigging was really nice and neat, and that was impressive in itself, but the rig was even more impressive. Four rectangles above the ice, each facing a different side of the bowl, each with a white cyc in the middle and tilted up so that the cyc faced the audience. There was a little circle with a cyc over the DJ at one end of the arena. There were something like 88 Studio Colors and 20 or more Mac2000s. Most were scattered around the truss, but there were pairs of Studios and Macs at intervals on both sides of the ice. I didn't get close enough to ID the lights on the circle truss, but there were also 8 racks of ACLs with scrollers on the sides of the ice surface. All in all, a very nice rig, and the LD put it to very good use. He didn't overuse anything, but had a very tasteful cuelist programmed. With all those wash lights, he could entirely cover the ice surface with a grid of lights (for cool effects like each row in the grid changing color to give the effect of a lit dance floor) and still have all of the 2ks left to blast the audience with a nice rotating gobo/prism look. Nice to see some different gear once in a while...

November 01, 2002

International Election Observers needed...

... in America

I think this article speaks for itself.

A picture is worth a thousand words

...and I don't have a digital camera to grab some quick pics of the scene here today. The moving truck finally arrived and my uncle and his family are trying to unload a house full of stuff in this already (still) mostly full house. I'm going to have to go to school to work or something for the next few days, but I feel sorry for them trying to unpack all of their stuff and get our stuff out of their way.

On the other side of the coin, I had a great time making banana pancakes this morning. Amy and Emily helped.

Kerry should be enjoying her first day in Orlando right now, relaxing in 25 C weather. I miss you, Kerry.