Frog That Freaks Me Out
2006-Sep-26 23:54:06 +0000 @037

A frog that looks like a brown leaf

This frog was on my driveway the other evening. His color pattern, when viewed from the top, looked so incredibly similar to a dried, fallen leaf that every time I see a leaf or a rock, I avoid stepping on it because it might be a frog.

I have recently become interested in different types of camouflage after seeing this page about dazzle camouflage and this photo from Wikipedia.

Email Backlog Graphs
2006-Sep-24 13:13:10 +0000 @592

Inbox Email Graph
This is what my email inbox has looked like for the last several months. I admit it – I use my inbox as a storage device. I do the same thing with my desktops, both virtual and physical.

It’s interesting to see how, no matter how hard I tried at cleaning out the box, there is always a “hum” going on of messages that just came in, messages that go with current issues at work, and messages I just don’t want to throw out or know where to file. It’s normal for me to get 50-75 emails per day, so having that many in the box doesn’t seem that odd to me.

One of the things I have noticed is that back-date spam (spam that has the wrong date and tries to hide in your stack of emails) accumulates and artificially inflates the graph. Since I don’t use a spam filter on my personal account, those start to pile up after a while. When I finally clean them out, it contributes to the “crash” seen every six weeks or so.

Another issue that builds the number of emails up are multiple messages from clients that pertain to the same issue. I can’t seem to get clients to put the information on the ticket that it goes with. So, perhaps I should start making temporary file folders for each ticket, or take it upon myself to add the details to the ticket. That would work for clients where I charge by the hour, I guess, as it would add up to an extra $200 or so per month just to keep them organized.
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WAMP Security Tips
2006-Aug-14 13:31:08 +0000 @604

I know a bunch of people who are using WAMP, an Apache, MySQL, PHP pre-compiled package for Windows. It’s a very good product as it is kind of challenging to install all of these services together on Windows, but it does leave several things in the default configuration and is therefore not very secure. Here are a few notes on the basic things you need to change in order to make it safer. Note that this is not all-encompassing and will not make an airtight system – this is Windows after all. However, it will at least follow 1985 standards of security.
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A Peek Inside My Head
2006-Jul-11 16:39:22 +0000 @735

Here is a page with about 200 news articles from my RSS reader. These are articles that have accumulated over the last year or so that I thought were neat enough to not delete. So, if you’ve ever wondered what kinds of things catch my attention, here’s a good sample.

Waiting to Develop my Digital Photos
2006-Jul-06 18:20:16 +0000 @805

In the midst of moving, I have misplaced the USB drive that reads the memory sticks from my camera. This means that I can’t really look at the Space Shuttle photos I took until I get a new one, find it, or borrow another one this weekend.

It’s kind of retro to think I now have to wait for my photos, just like when we used to “develop” our pictures.

Anyway, I thought it was an interesting thought to step backwards like that.

I Watched a Space Shuttle Launch
2006-Jul-05 11:10:50 +0000 @507

I went to Cape Canaveral with a few friends. We figure there are only a few more shuttle launches left and the timing worked out well where we could take off a few days and be able to wait it out of there we any delays. As it turned out, there were several, but we were very happy that we stuck it out.

We had a radio scanner to listen to the launch control, which is a good thing because if you don’t hear the countdown you might miss it. You don’t really hear the shuttle when it takes off because it takes sound some time to travel from the launch pad to you. In addition, the shuttle was surprisingly quiet, maybe as loud as a 747 or an F-14, but not as loud as a lot of other military jets. Building implosions are similarly not-loud.

It would be very difficult to make a launch photograph that truly shows the launch as we saw it. The flame from the engines was intensely bright, more than a welder or a magnesium flare but less than the sun. It was actually hard to look at because it was so bright. Some people had trouble looking at it, even with sunglasses. Some of our cameras produced almost night looking images in order to balacne the brightness. The flames lit up the smoke plumes.

The shuttle quickly becomes just a dot and it is difficult to see many of the events after 2 minutes. I could barely see the solid rocket boosters eject and deploy their parachutes. I could not follow them all the way to the ground. For several minutes, the shuttle was just a bright star in the daytime before it finally dissipated.

The smoke plume left at the launch pad was white on the outside but had an orange cast inside. Apparently, the SRB smoke reflects white but transmits orange.

On the delayed launch days we toured Kennedy Space Center, saw the IMAX movies, and hung out on Cocoa Beach.

Even though the space center is geared more toward kids, I did really enjoy it. Actually, I think I enjoyed the other visitors the most. I’ve always been a space buff and it was neat to be surrounded by people who shared that interest. KSC does allow you pretty close to a lot of stuff and has lots of toys to share. Everyone I know who works with NASA seems to really enjoy it and there is palpable sense of family.

Space Shuttle Launch Links
2006-Jun-26 09:21:33 +0000 @431

Some friends and I are going to see the Space Shuttle Launch. Good information about seeing a launch is hard to find, so I think I might post these links to sites that I found useful.

NASA - Off-site viewing location tips

Information on Kennedy Space Center Passes for Launch Day

Other things to do in the area… in case of delay

Directions to one of the better public spaces

Technical information on Launches

A detailed explaination of KSC Passes

Best of luck to everyone at NASA. Blue skies!

“An Inconvenient Truth” Review
2006-Jun-26 09:15:55 +0000 @427

A few friends and I saw the Al Gore An Inconvenient Truth film last night.

I’m very pleased that the public is interested enough in this type of film for it to make it into mainstream theaters. Maybe there is some hope after all.

I think they did a good job explaining what global warming is and how we can use ice core samples to judge temperature and CO2 levels back thousands of years. While the film focuses on “consequences” of our inaction, Gore does remind us that there is plenty of time to act and that we have reversed our environmental damage before – the elimination of chlorofluorocarbons, for example.

The visuals do a good job keeping the audience’s attention, and I was excited to see them using an Apple computer. At the same time, there were several statistical flaws. The flaws are relatively minor, but this film is going to become the Fahrenheit 9/11 and you know that people are going to attack it. Whether Gore planned on it or not, he might end up being a poster child for the film. I can already see the oil industry saying “Al Gore says he invented Global Warming.” Among the errors I thought I caught:

  • list of deaths did not add up to the same number Al Gore says in the narrative (35,000)
  • Some of the temperature graphs indicated a range of only two degrees. The temperature in the theater probably fluctuated more than that.
  • During the end sequence about technology, photos of the Very Large Array, a radio telescope, are used to represent “satellite communication”

I would feel better about the representations if they put the charts and graphs on their web site. Many of them fly by faster than you can read. “These are not the statistics you are looking for.” To make this even funnier, one of the commercials during the previews was about subliminal messages.

Whether you believe in global warming or not, I think it is easy to see that our society’s pollution is not a good thing. If you don’t understand what us environmentalists are talking about, seeing this film will help you understand our perspective. I recommend it, but you might want to wait for it to come out on DVD. Hopefully they will fix the above errors, plus you will be able to pause and back-up.

I’m really looking forward to seeing the “follow-up” movie Who Killed the Electric Car? that was advertised during the previews. I don’t think electric cars are the whole answer, after all we create carbons and nuclear waste to make our electricity, but it seems to me that it should be a commercially available option at this point.

Fun Things This Summer
2006-Jun-21 00:31:01 +0000 @063

While lots of my time will be sucked up by moving, I do have a few goals for fun things I want to do this summer. If you think any of these are neat, you should join me. Let me know when you want to go:

  • Tour the Georgia Dome – There is a “behind the scenes tour” that I think would be neat.

  • Go back to the Aquarium – I have an annual pass and haven’t been in several months. I hear that they cut back on the number of people they allow at once. Also, I need to remember to bring my earplugs.

  • Go to the BODIES exhibit Done – highly recommended!

  • Hike/bike/skate the Alpharetta Greenway

  • Go hiking in Cloudland Canyon

  • Bike Repair class at REI

  • Do something with fireworks for 4th of July

  • Take a Segway Tour

First Week In My First House
2006-Jun-19 00:47:33 +0000 @074

So, I picked up the keys to my house a week ago. This being my first house, the process continues to be a little different. Here are the main points:

  • Unlike an apartment, they don’t repaint between tenants. They don’t clean either. Oh, and furniture tends to cover damage to the walls and carpet. So far, I’ve spent more than 25 hours cleaning. The place wasn’t a disaster or anything. The sellers were not slobs. But it did take a long time.

  • Landscaping needs water. It looks like the sellers didn’t water for a while and all the flowers and plants are wilting. It also takes a lot of time to stand there and water them. Sprinklers and timers are your friends.

  • Follow the directions on cleaning chemicals carefully. For example, I own a steam cleaner, but it was not able to remove some of the stains (probably tea or coffee) from the upstairs carpet. I did, however, find a great chemical called Forex that is getting it out. I sprayed it in and tried to suck it out with the steam cleaner. That didn’t work at all. I guess the chemical doesn’t mix with water because when I followed the directions and blotted it out with a towel, it worked great. The chemical was cheap, in a white bottle, isn’t caustic, and doesn’t smell. I highly recommend it.

The upstairs of the house needs more carpet cleaning (and possible replacement) plus repainting. I don’t have time to do that for several weeks. I finally came up with a great idea. Since I’ve always wanted to try living in a loft, I’m going to put all the furniture on the lower level. That leaves 4 rooms – the bedroom, bathroom, living/dining/office/kitchen, and the garage. That will also allow me to work on the upstairs without having furniture all over the place.

Anyway, I can’t wait to see what I’ll learn this week.


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