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Thursday, November 14, 2002

Privacy will be non-existent

Read You Are a Suspect in the New York Times, Op-Ed page:

Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend -- all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as "a virtual, centralized grand database."

William Safire outlines the dangers of passing the Homeland Security Act as it stands at present. John Poindexter rears his disgraceful, slimy head in the midst of all this.

Do you want every facet of your entire life knowable by some government bureaucrat? Your medical records? Your web surfing habits?

Is Oracle giving Poindexter a huge sum of money to push this through? (You think I'm kidding? Have you read what Larry Ellison has to say about a national database?)

You thought TIPS was a nasty piece of work -- that was NOTHING compared to the evil this will wreak.
posted by lee on 11/14/02 at 10:27 PM

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ooh, texture heaven!

Check out Auto FX Software - textures for the taking, royalty free, for just registering. Lots and lots of very nice textures.
posted by lee on 11/14/02 at 08:43 PM

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Wednesday, November 13, 2002

ColorMatch 5K

This may have been around for a while, but I just discovered it: ColorMatch 5K. It's a pretty handy dandy little color mixer that gives you a good palette of matching colors. I would love it if you could enter a hex value for a color and get the matching colors - but I'm not complaining, just glad to be able to use it.

I found the link to this on MezzoBlue, which I found while reading through comments on an article about Contributor (see yesterday's post) on Evolt.
posted by lee on 11/13/02 at 08:46 PM

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Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Hey, it’s really useful!

I got a message from Macromedia this morning about this new content product called Contribute. Supposed to make updating content on websites much, much easier. So I checked it out. I love it. I managed to get a backlog of content updates done very fast. I will defintely buy this when it's released for sale next month. It's $99, at least that will be the intro rate, a little steep for what amounts to an add-on. But I figure the time it will save us will pay for it pretty quickly.

The one thing I did notice about it is the code has to be absolutely correct in order for Contribute to work for updating content. If there are missing tags, such as unclosed table cells for example, it warns the content contributor not to do anything until it's fixed. I think this is a Good Thing.
posted by lee on 11/12/02 at 01:59 PM

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Monday, November 11, 2002

Durable Digital Depository

MIT launched DSpace, which is basically a searchable repository for digitized research reports. Apparently, this is just the beginning. The search seems to work well. The documents are abstracted so you don't have to waste time downloading .pdf files you might not need. It's a promising start in an attempt provide some persistence to digital creations, which have a tendency to disappear as technologies change or webservers are shut down, moved, or rearranged.

The software for the library is open source, so other organizations won't have to pay royalties to create their own digital library using the MIT (developed with Hewlett-Packard) software. It's the first link in what they hope will be a consortium of digital archives.

The one drawback that I've noticed is there is no way to tell if the contribution has been peer-reviewed before being accepted into the depository.

More information about digitized research archives: "College Archives 'Dig' Deeper."
posted by lee on 11/11/02 at 09:04 AM

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Sunday, November 10, 2002

eq - what’s yours?

I know these things are, for the most part, silly and mostly meaningless. Still, I'm not immune from the American penchant for finding out more about ME. Following a link from lactose-incompetent, I took the Emotional Intelligence Test from Utne Reader Online. What, you want to know my score? It is 120. Out of 200. So I guess that means, while I'm not an emotional cripple, I'm not exactly in tip-top emotional condition. I wonder if my score would've been higher if it weren't so gloomy out today?
posted by lee on 11/10/02 at 10:21 AM

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Saturday, November 09, 2002

mt panic & the “friendly” worm

This afternoon, I did a little rearranging of my journal index page. I wanted to add the Movable Type 2.1 search feature -- mainly so I can find things in my archives -- and reorganize the side matter some (I'm not finished with it. Seems I'm never finished with it.) Went to make sure the new template worked fine -- oh man, what a mess!

I'd forgotten that I'd changed SSH to upload on in binary because I was uploading a Flash file last night. Okay, so changed that and then I reloaded the template in ascii format. Better -- but still not quite right. I needed to rebuild.

Headed for the templates page. But no matter what I clicked, I was thrown back to the login page. Over and over. Panic -- I broke it! I'd already had muchas trouble upgrading (had to do with case-sensitive cgi. I had to change the case of about 15 files or so that uploaded as lower case instead of mixed case) so I was NOT HAPPY about this. Headed to the forums, but didn't find an answer there (which left me feeling really dumb -- could I have broken it in a unique way? I doubted it, which meant the fix was so obvious anyone could fix it). I changed the permissions on the files, reloaded this and that, tried all kinds of tweaks. No dice.

AHA! I know, I'll READ THE F*ING MANUAL. Lo and behold, down there in the Troubleshooting section, there was my problem: "I keep getting the Movable Type login screen." With an answer in plain English no less. Which was: if you've set ZoneAlarm to block cookies, the thing ain't gonna work. And what had I done before I began my MT tweaking? Upgraded ZoneAlarm -- where I'd just decided to try a tracking cookie block. I untried it. Problem solved.

The "Friendly" Worm
Yesterday I got a message from a woman at the place where I no longer spend three days a week. It contained a message with a link to download a greeting card she'd sent via friend - greeting (or something like that). I have to admit, I was a bit surprised to get a greeting message from her -- but I figured she was just touching base with all us refugees or something. It wasn't until I'd clicked the link and "install" button that the alarm bells started going off -- would she really send a greeting? But neither Norton AntiVirus nor ZoneAlarm Pro protested ... so maybe it was okay ... I did LiveUpdate only yesterday ... why's it taking so long ... and what a cruddy card -- this isn't something she'd send! OH NO!

I sent her a message asking her about it, and she wrote back apologizing profusely and telling me not to install it because it is a worm, etc. etc. etc. But of course I had. Then my desktop started going haywire. Hoo boy. Here we go ... the SECOND time this week Norton failed me.

Stanley immediately started researching it; it's called, according to Symantec, friend greet or friend greetings -- and they provided removal instructions. Which wasn't easy -- uninstalling it is incomplete, I had to freaking do a liveupdate on Norton AntiVirus TWICE to get the right virus definitions, then NA could not either quarantine or remove the files until I rebooted. Then there was a bunch of registry changes I had to make because Norton could not, and though Norton warned you to clean out all the temp files in the browser cache, it did not warn you to clean out the files in the temporary download file, were I found it again today (it did not execute, fortunately).

A would say that all's well that ends well, except that my quickstart programs are still all rearranged and I'm really pissed that Norton AntiVirus failed yet again. This is one instance where virus definition updates should be automatically pushed content, rather than scheduled pulls. At the very least, Symantec should send out warnings, like McAfee does (I dumped McAfee because it kept crapping up my operating system). At any rate, Stanley told me it's time to update ZoneAlarmPro -- he's the person in charge of all this stuff, so I did what he told me to do. And that, ultimately, is why I had the MT problem.

It amazes me sometimes, the cascade of consequences.
posted by lee on 11/09/02 at 03:01 PM

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Wednesday, November 06, 2002

ruins, again

My fascination with ruins continues unabated. This site is gorgeous, and spooky: the derelict sensation.

Detroit Train Station, Audrey Mantey


Audrey Mantey has a series of photographs of the ruin of the Detroit Train Station in Southwest Detroit (abandoned in 1988). I remember this station vividly - I was fascinated with it from the first time I saw it. I remember going with my Dad to pick up the out-of-town newspapers there when I was a little girl and then doing the same thing by myself when I was in college. I used to sit there and read the newspapers and watch the people.

This train station is not too far from where Tiger Stadium used to stand, and where the second-oldest Roman Catholic church in America, St. Anne (founded in 1701), still stands.

This site is worth spending time on, a lot of interesting projects and presentations. And it makes me realize I should go get pictures of a derelict building right here in Norwalk that fascinates me before it gets torn down. It's a building I would love to buy and renovate if I had the money to do it right.

posted by lee on 11/06/02 at 09:30 PM

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it’s so depressing

My Dad said last night: "I don't understand people. We had eight years of a booming economy under the Democrats. Now everyone can see the economy is still going down the tubes, and yet they're still voting Republican." I don't understand it either, but as Stanley is fond of saying: "Half of all people have an IQ of 100 or less." CNN has a good roundup of all the election results here: Election 2002 Results. One bright spot was Michigan, where a Democrat, a woman at that, won and managed to throw off too many years of Republican control. Too bad about Missouri and Minnesota, though. And here in Connecticut our sleazy governor got another four years to further trash the economy.

Voter turnout seemed to be low around here - I'll have to look for those results.

posted by lee on 11/06/02 at 10:50 AM

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Tuesday, November 05, 2002

more handy sites

I don't even remember where I stumbled upon this - rediscovered it while sorting my bookmark list (which I have to google to find anything in ... ): Conversion & Calculation Center: Measurements, Currencies, World Time, Calculators & Reference Info. All kinds of handy dandy thingies.

And if you need just the facts on the nutrient values of foods, such as carbohydrate content or fiber content, etc., go here: Search the USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. Click the home button to find more info. I remember now why I have this bookmarked: Stanley and I did a lot of research on food nutrient content for The Circadian Prescription, a very, very good book written by Dr. Sidney Baker and Karen Baar about circadian rhythms of our bodies and its effects on health.

posted by lee on 11/05/02 at 10:07 PM

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