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The Mae Shi [17 Jan 2009|02:02am]
If you like music and you have not yet heard Run To Your Grave by The Mae Shi, you must go listen to it right now. I am serious about this.

If you have already heard it, please explain to me in small words why you didn't tell me about it, and let's get that problem solved, whatever it is.

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A Christmas Rant [14 Dec 2008|05:27pm]
There was a period of time spanning, as far as I can tell, the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when popular Christmas-themed music made for commercial purposes was often pretty good.

We have recordings dating from the end of that period which are perfectly serviceable, if growing somewhat too familiar. That familiarity notwithstanding, if you wish to make a buck selling shitty modern Christmas pop music, it is not necessary to "update" those classics to sound just as shitty as all other modern Christmas-themed pop. Given the monumental lack of effort required to make modern pop music, you can just as easily make new shitty pop. Or, if you like those classics so fucking much, you could strive to make something of lasting value, like Burl Ives, and Bing Crosby, and the Andrews Sisters, and Irving goddamn Berlin did.

In the meadow we can build a snowman
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown
He'll say 'Are you married?'
We'll say 'No, man,'
'But you can do the job when you're in town!'

That's how you write a fucking Christmas song, idiots. Please have some goddamn respect and don't fuck up songs you lack the talent to write.

Oh, and Merry Christmas.

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[05 Mar 2008|10:01pm]
I've set up a blog for my writing on computer programming and my various programming projects: http://www.hackerdashery.com/.

Tech stuff will be showing up over there from now on.
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codepad [19 Feb 2008|08:28am]
Those of you who write computer programs might be interested in my latest project: http://codepad.org/.

It's a pastebin that runs your code for you. My idea is that this will be good for showing people how to do things, demonstrating errors and weird behavior, and solving small problems when you don't have an interpreter/compiler handy. Untrusted code is run under a supervisor based on geordi. It uses ptrace, chroot, and resource limits to jail the untrusted code in a way that is probably still not as airtight as I'd like.

If there's a language or feature that would make codepad more useful to you, please request it, and I'll do my best to accommodate.
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before the cream sits out too long [31 Oct 2007|10:05pm]
The usual suspects and I are going as Devo this Halloween. We all picked different Devo outfits to immitate, and Greg was trying on goggles to go with his:

"Those are good."

"How about these?"

"No, they're too cool. Now you look like you're in Front 242."

"It's a fine line."
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my first haiku of 2007 [01 Jan 2007|12:06pm]
judas priest still rocks
I announce, flipping you off
with blurred tv hands
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Hazel's Maxim [25 Oct 2006|06:32pm]
In conversation tonight, my brother Greg and I were bemoaning the fact that there are always lousy computer programmers out there producing lousy code, and good programmers are perpetually stuck dealing with it. Greg then originated a succinct, funny statement of profound truth about software engineering. I'm calling it "Hazel's Maxim" (let's hope I never make up a good maxim, I'd be out of luck!)
Hazel's Maxim: "You can take the fuck-ups from the code, but you can't take the code from the fuck-ups."
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code blocks and C-like lambda expressions [07 Oct 2006|11:50pm]
A while back, I started using Ruby for some personal software projects. I was immediately impressed with its "code block" syntax. It's a fairly natural Algol-like syntax for lambda expressions, and is used to great effect in the language. I'd like to advocate wider adoption of this kind of syntax, and suggest some improvements.Collapse )
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Close-block Delimiter Symbols Considered Helpful [10 Sep 2006|06:50pm]
I've decided to start posting some of my thoughts about programming languages and software development tools. Since I so love to bitch and moan, I'll motivate myself by starting off with a complaint about the language I use every day at work, Python. And so, donning my asbestos smoking jacket, I wax philosophical about syntax:Collapse )
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acquisitions [29 Aug 2006|03:50pm]
Last December, I learned that FolderShare was acquired by Microsoft. I worked at FolderShare in the early days, and had a hand in building all of the major pieces of the system. After I left they continued to improve it for a couple years, but I figure Microsoft owns some fairly substantial chunks of my code now. Too bad I didn't have any stock.

More recently, I learned that Sony Pictures had agreed to buy Grouper, where I worked until early this year. I put a lot of effort into Grouper, and wrecked my wrists in the process, so I was very happy to hear that it amounted to something. And this time, I did have some stock! As one of my friends put it, I won the Internet Lotto -- but only the scratch-and-win game, not the mega-jackpot game with the little numbered balls.
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c-repl [11 Apr 2006|01:01pm]
evan just put together the web page for his excellent C read-eval-print loop hack, c-repl. If you code in C every day the way I used to, you will no doubt be running this thing in a terminal at all times starting any second now.
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Incoherence [19 Feb 2006|11:33pm]

As some of you already know, my brother and I have finally finished the commercial release of our audio visualization / analysis tool, Incoherence. (Scroll down for free plug-ins.) We're getting ready to show it off to some recording industry people, and we'd appreciate your comments before we go and step off that particular cliff.
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book report [31 Jan 2006|10:27pm]
During my prolonged absence, I got a lot of reading done. Here's my book report. Because I have so many books to talk about, I'm going to limit myself to grouping them into three categories and giving one or two sentences per book.

Highly RecommendedCollapse )

So-soCollapse )

I Want My Time BackCollapse )
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more excellent nerdiness [16 Jan 2006|05:13pm]
Since I'm indulging in nerdy jokes today, I feel I should mention my friend motive_nuance's favorite unit of velocity: megahertz gallons per acre (time-1 * distance3 / distance2). It works out to be about 0.94 meters per second.

Officer: Do you know how fast you were going back there?
Smartass: Yes officer, about 38 megahertz gallons per acre.
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awesame [16 Jan 2006|03:30pm]
While chatting with some friends a while back, schmatz and I invented a word that I feel should be added to the lexicon of every right-thinking nerd:

awesame: adj. Having impressive rotational symmetry. "Because the laws of physics are so awesame, a shortstop doesn't need to know whether he's facing north or south in order to catch a fly ball." [From "awesome" + "same", and the observation that, as rendered in many fonts, "awesame" is awesame.]
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chained to a dying animal [07 Jan 2006|10:46pm]
Those of you who haven't heard from me elsewhere might be wondering why I haven't been using livejournal these last nine months. Well, ljfriends, that's because I'm all fucked up. Nine months ago, my wrist problems rapidly went from "my wrist sometimes gets tired and achy, so I take regular typing breaks and do stretches" to "my wrists never feel normal, and if I type they swell up and my muscles spasm and I sometimes experience sharp, shooting pain along my forearm, so I try not to ever type." Around the same time, a strange "allergy" I have to nobody-knows-what also rapidly got much worse. Before, my hands or feet would sometimes get strangely itchy in the morning, or if I got too warm. Now, my entire body erupts in an extremely painful stinging sensation, like being jabbed with thousands of needles, if I try to walk around the block in the sun. (I thought the "jabbed with needles" thing might be an exaggeration, until I had blood work done recently and got to compare the sensations -- this actually hurts more than needles.)

So, that's what's been going on in my life. I'm writing to you now using Dragon NaturallySpeaking, a voice-recognition program for Windows (it's frustrating and full of ridiculous bugs, but it works okay, especially for e-mail and chat.) I haven't typed much more than a password in four months, and my wrists do seem to be improving. I'm on antihistamines for the allergy, and they make me a little spacey but they mostly work, if I also am careful to stay cool and out of the sun.

Some friends and I went to Japan for a couple of weeks in June, which was awesome, and apparently whatever it is that I'm allergic to doesn't exist in Japan (or on vacation?), so everything worked out great.

I've had some entertaining adventures with medicine and alternative medicine. My doctor claimed my wrist problems were due to "carpal tunnel", but 15 minutes of research on the Internet revealed to me that my symptoms do not remotely match carpal tunnel (I get numbness in the two fingers that aren't supposed to get numb with carpal tunnel, and not in the other three). I tried acupuncture (feels really fucking weird, doesn't work for me), chiropractic (makes lots of loud cracking noises, doesn't work for me, also has an adjective for a name), and deep tissue massage (sort of works a little). Before I found an antihistamine which helps with the allergy (most don't do anything for me), I drank a stinky Chinese herbal concoction which I think maybe helped a little bit, actually. I went to physical therapy, where I learned some exercises to improve my posture, so that now my posture is somewhat better, but my upper back also cracks pretty frequently, which disturbs me.

Anyway, I'm thinking maybe posting on livejournal is convenient enough now that I can start up again. I don't want this to become a journal of my medical problems, so don't expect to hear about anything but the most major developments on that front (really, I promise.)
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SAT analogies [05 Mar 2005|12:45pm]
In conversation last night, I came up with a couple of analogies that I think would be excellent candidates for inclusion on the SAT:

Science : The God of Atheists :: Flax Seed : Vegan Foie Gras

Intelligent Design : Evolution :: The Stork : Fucking
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So Jealous [24 Jan 2005|08:09pm]
I've been getting a lot out of the new Tegan and Sara album, "So Jealous" -- I recommend you check it out. It took me a while to get past some of the problems with this record, though, and I thought I might save you the trouble. So, here's my simple guide to liking "So Jealous" by Tegan and Sara:

1. Remember that band Belly? They rocked.
2. Put the CD on.
3. Skip to track 7.
4. Listen to the rest of the record.
5. Wasn't that great?
6. Now go listen to the first 6 tracks and see whether you like any of those. Some of them are pretty decent.
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an airplane is a bus with security checkpoints [30 Dec 2004|04:35am]
US Airways is also an idiot.

My flight out of Providence was delayed by about and hour and a half, causing me to miss my connection in Philadelphia. The first available flight to SF was early the next morning. So I got to spend the night in a hotel in Philadelphia.

My family is from Pittsburgh, but we moved away when I was two years old, and I haven't really been back to Pennsylvania much since then. It was really weird to hear so many people in the hotel bar who talk just like my aunts and uncles. And they make the same kinds of jokes! When I told the shuttle driver which airline I was on, he asked "domestic, or imported?"

Anyway, since the flight was so early, and I wasn't anxious to miss it by failing to show up two hours early, I decided to stay up rather than try to sleep. And then of course the early morning flight turned out to be a late morning flight, and I got to sit in the airport for an extra two and a half hours, so tired I could barely see straight.

There was a guy in some kind of military uniform waiting for the same flight. At one point, he started fooling around with some kind of magic trick -- he had this dime-sized bit of paper or something that he would get spinning, so that it would fall very slowly, like a Maple tree's "helicopter" seeds. And he could keep it from falling by pushing air up at it, I think, so that it levitated a few inches above his hands. I'm fairly certain that I was not dreaming this, but when I first saw him doing that, in my sleep-deprived state, it took me a minute (and some fairly hard arm-pinching) to convince myself I was awake!
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Merry Fucking Christmas [24 Dec 2004|02:47am]
Greetings from SFO.

I am an idiot, and I missed my plane. Now I get to hang out in SFO until the next one leaves at 6am. With enough of this brutal conditioning, I may one day adapt to this insane future in which it is often necessary to arrive at the airport one or even two entire hours before take-off. But I'm sort of betting I'll continue to be an idiot for a while yet.

My brother is also an idiot.

In other news, as you might have noticed up there in the title, I have settled on "Merry Fucking Christmas" as my official December greeting. I don't want to adopt some lifeless, culturally ignorant PC substitution, but I don't want to accidentally fail to offend the Christ freaks, either.
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