October 2003 Archives

Finished the last 6 hours or so of 24: Season Two and I was pretty bored watching the whole thing. Kim's character is terribly stupid, as well. I'm Tivoing the 3rd season but not hoping for much out of this prime-time soap opera.

Great interview with Charles Palliser, the aforementioned author of The Quincunx. Specifically, the interview deals with story development, integrity and structure.

Wow, this story _is_ rather inventive in its clues, as the following demonstrates:

(Potential spoiler warning for those who haven't yet read or haven't completed The Quincunx)

We learn on page 307 by this passage:

'Henry Bellringer, Esq., second bell-handle on the right-hand door-post, No. 6, Fig-Tree-court, Barnards-inn. Half-brother of Stephen Maliphant.' (bold emphasis mine)

That in itself isn't the telling part, it's the following:

"'Is that your name?', I asked. "Maliphant? Is that why Quigg calls you that ugly word?".

The 'ugly word' being the uneducated farm hand Roger's name for him of 'Mealy-Plant'.

No more of this is mentioned in the rest of the passage, but coupled with our knowledge of John (the narrator's) nickname of 'Cloth-Ear', we can deduce that his last name is really 'Clothier', which is mentioned earlier in the novel, but never connected to the narrator.

Which, uh, makes his family tree (of which the whole novel's inheritance story is based) less solid than we've been led to believe.

It's slow-going in reading The Quincunx, and so little of the story is 'revealed' to us (revealed in quotes because, due to the nature of the novel, so-called facts that are told to us can't be trusted at this stage) that without a major event taking place soon, I'm liable to shelve this book for a couple of days and pick it up again once I've regained enthusiasm for it. It's not that it's boring, per-say, but it does feel like a soap opera in that none of the threads have been really resolved at all, leaving the reader to feel slighted as he learns one fact only to have it exploited into something else entirely.

Page 290 of 781.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Quiet American, starring the ever-excellent Michael Caine and (in this role), the fitting Brendan Frasier.

The film is a remake of a 1950's film based on the book by Graham Greene.

I've begun reading The Quincunx by Charles Palliser. From the reviews I've read, it's a sprawling, complexly-woven tale , and I look forward to it.


About the only thing scary in The Eye was that it was hailed as being superior, or in the same league as, The Sixth Sense. Of course, I liked The Others more than either of those.

I'm hoping that all of the enhancements to the stand-alone Composer application will find their way back into Mozilla's trunk (Seamonkey).

Not to mention there doesn't seem to be much work going on in Editor (sans Daniel) these days. I'm not picking on anyone (really), it's just that Editor, as good as it is, still has a few issues (mostly selection/focus/caret) that people with real uses (such as myself when I used it for generating my many testcases for AOL) encounter.

It'd be nice to see those fixed before we add new features, but I'm still encouraged that Daniel is getting paid to work on it again ;-)

I know you read my blog Daniel, so here's my public thanks for carrying the torch, as it were.

Well, The Club Dumas wasn't an amazing novel, but it was good nonetheless. I'm not sure what I'll read next. I'm tired of Chuck Palahniuk's style for the moment and not sure I want to take on a full-page book, so I might read The Flanders Panel.

I _really_ really want this keyboard/mouse combo (though I'm not happy with the jet-black color):

Finished up watching Gods and Generals, which, while accurate, somehow failed to portray emotions, instead it delivered tiring speech after speech. It ended up feeling like a really polished high school play (it had Jeff Daniels, of all people, cast as Lt. Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain!).

That's not to say that I didn't enjoy it for what it was, a Civil War movie, but it was certainly no Gettysburg, Glory, etc.

Interesting (yet unnerving) fact - 90% of all paper currency shows traces of cocaine...

I'm now reading a book that I purchased at the recommendation of Scott Collins back in 2001 - The Club Dumas, by Arturo P�rez-Reverte. So far, the book is really great - good pacing, sparkling with erudition, and a very interesting plot.

I've seen The Ninth Gate, which was based lightly on this book, but it wasn't very good (as I remember it when I saw it back in 1999) and I've forgotten all of the significant plot elements, so reading this book is a fresh experience.

Today's tip: Did you know writing in ALL CAPS is considered shouting?

NO I HAD NO IDEA!!!

Okay, I'm enraged right about now, and hope this is a technical glitch rather than a glaring policy oversight:

Message/delivery-status

Reporting-MTA: dns; rly-na03.mx.aol.com
Arrival-Date: Sat, 18 Oct 2003 04:17:50 -0400 (EDT)

Final-Recipient: RFC822; technutz@netscape.net
Action: failed
Status: 5.1.1
Remote-MTA: DNS; air-na01.mail.aol.com
Diagnostic-Code: SMTP; 550 technutz IS NOT ACCEPTING ANY MAIL
Last-Attempt-Date: Sat, 18 Oct 2003 04:17:55 -0400 (EDT)

Received: from web13107.mail.yahoo.com (web13107.mail.yahoo.com
[216.136.174.152]) by rly-na03.mx.aol.com (v96.8) with ESMTP id
MAILRELAYINNA38-263f90f72d265; Sat, 18 Oct 2003 04:17:50 -0400
Message-ID: <20031018081749.85030.qmail@web13107.mail.yahoo.com>
Received: from [4.5.245.99] by web13107.mail.yahoo.com via HTTP; Sat,
18 Oct 2003 01:17:49 PDT
Date: Sat, 18 Oct 2003 01:17:49 -0700 (PDT)
From: Stephen Donner
Subject: test
To: technutz@netscape.net
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary="0-543759851-1066465069=:85026"
X-AOL-IP: 216.136.174.152
X-AOL-SCOLL-SCORE: 0:XXX:XX
X-AOL-SCOLL-URL_COUNT: 0
X-AOL-INRLY: web13107.mail.yahoo.com [216.136.174.152] rly-na03

My Netscape.net free web-based email account becomes less attractive everyday, due to the following:

A) There's no method of reporting/flagging/filtering junk mail
B) For the past 2 weeks, there have been massive problems with either the SNS cookies or the load-balancers, causing attempts to log-in/read mail/delete mail a serious pain. You had to repeat the same action about 5-8 times before it would execute successfully.
C) Tonight, it started not being able to send. At all.

Seriously, I doubt there are people developing new features for Netscape.com (sans the low-cost ISP that was recently leaked), but there should be people there maintaining it, so that I can send mail reliably.

If you have been tempted to see Wrong Turn, may I encourage you not to, unless the following criteria is met:

A) You simply must see Eliza Dushku in some capacity
B) The gross-blood-and-guts of humans doesn't bother you (even if on-screen)
C) You actually enjoy lame Virginia-backwoods movies that are cheap knockoffs of the terrifying Deliverance.

While I'm a huge fan of Paul Van Dyk's super-melodic trance epic CD 'Out There and Back', his latest 'Reflections' CD, while containing the superb track 'Connected', is pretty bad.

Also, while I'm not Oakenfold's biggest fan by any stretch of the imagination (since his falloff in the past year or so), his latest CD 'Paul Oakenfold Presents - Great Wall' is basically the essential CD for the hits of 2002-2003.

Got back tonight from seeing the _very_ funny (and free!) performance of Alfred & Seymour at IUSB. I recommend you check them out if they're playing in your area.

Coincidence?

A week ago or so - AOL shuts down the Netscape.com email domain which housed employees' accounts.

Within the past few days - Someone lets it slip that AOL is quietly developing a Netscape-branded discount ISP.

While they _could_ use the current Netscape.net domain for their email addresses, they could also very easily use the now vacated Netscape.com domain.

But that, of course, remains to be seen.

Verizon fixed my DSL service today, after 4 very frustrating calls and 1 botched DSL technician 'service' visit.

After the local and online reps/techs played the blame game as to whose fault it was (and naming me the culprit several times), the technician finally got to the bottom of it and said something in California at their aggregation/muxing facility needed tweaking.

I went from ~ 322kbps downstream to 661kbps (my line is rated ~850kbps, and the line supposedly is rate-limited at 768kbps, which I'm ~100kbps short of). According to the DSL technicians though, you'll get 80-85% of your pro-rated bandwidth.

I guess I should be grateful I'm getting the higher speeds after all, since the technician told me the wires around here are nearly rotting away under the ground, and have water all around them.

stephend.org

When I get a job, I'll get hosting for it, but I've registered stephend.org in the meantime.

I saw Hollywood Homicide tonight on DVD, and boy is it lame. All of the 'comedic' lines felt forced, and even the chase scenes were lousy, sans for a moment when Harrison Ford's character peddles a girl's pink bicycle with balloons...

How long before the WB's atrocious new show 'Tarzan' gets cancelled?

I give it 5 weeks maybe...

Internap just finished their acquisition of netVMG, and announced they will also be acquiring Sockeye Networks.

netVMG is device-based, and Sockeye Networks is software based (they piggy-back on Akamai's network, using their performance metrics to route traffic).

Both companies optimize BGP-based routing, and the only competitor now left standing on its own in that arena is RouteScience.

From Microsoft's latest IE patch:

"Security issues identified in Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) could allow an attacker to compromise systems with IE installed (even if IE is not used as the Web browser). For example, an attacker could run programs on a computer used to view the attacker's Web site."

Nice... this tells me their security model is completely lame and they have too much integration...

| 1 Comment

Just finished reading Diary: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk (for those of you unaware, he is the author of Fight Club).

I have to say this is not a very Chuck-like book, and I found it very lacking in his dry humor.

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I've gotta get me one of these...

Lexus IS300 - only car I'm dreaming about.

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