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8 May, 2003

Seasonal Spam

Here's an article that discusses seasonal spam:

An estimated 10 million spam messages relating to Mother's Day have been sent in the past two weeks, says anti-spam software maker Brightmail Inc. of San Francisco.

In the last six months, Brightmail says it's seen a similar influx of opportunistic spam messages that leverage events such as Christmas, Valentine's Day, the deadline for filing income tax returns, and issues related to war and homeland security.

Obviously, body part enlargement is a year-round endeavor.

Posted on 8 May, 2003

The Friday Five

Every Friday, this site publishes a list of five questions. These questions, I think, are intended to be answered by bloggers who can't think of anything to write about. That pretty much describes me, so I'm going to play along today.

1. Would you consider yourself an organized person? Why or why not?

Not really. However, I'm organized enough to get by, and my lack of organization rarely causes any problems for me. So that's good enough.

2. Do you keep some type of planner, organizer, calendar, etc. with you, and do you use it regularly?

No. My life is so simple that I have no need for these types of tools. Back in the days when I had a real job, I did try to use various types of planning tools -- both paper-based and electronic. They never worked for me. I always started out strong, but I inevitably ended up using the yellow sticky note solution (which I highly recommend).

3. Would you say that your desk is organized right now?

Actually, it is (I cleaned it off recently). I have several piles of stuff, and each pile contains items that are kind of related to each other. At least I think they are. They probably aren't, but at least the piles are fairly neat.

The organization on my hard drive is a total disaster. I solve this problem by buying a new computer every two years or so. I've acquired a bad habit of saving stuff to my Desktop. Then, when things get out of hand, I simply create some new directories and move stuff into them.

Although I do a lot of web surfing, I don't even try to keep a list of "favorites" anymore. Rather, I rely on Google to find whatever I need. I do have a customized Home Page however. This is a local HTML file that contains links to about 120 sites that I visit regularly.

4. Do you alphabetize CDs, books, and DVDs, or does it not matter?

What a stupid question. Of course I do!

My CDs are separates by genre, and each genre is alphabetized by artist name. Assigning an artist to a particular genre is often a source of frustration, however, because something in me wants to keep all CDs by a particular artist together (I keep wanting to put Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" into the Jazz category, but I don't). Someday, I'll probably scrap the genre thing and switch over to strict alphabetical order. That will certainly make my life easier.

My books are organized into three groups: fiction (alphabetized by author), non-fiction (arranged roughly by topic), and mine (randomly arranged).

DVDs are organized into two categories: music and other. But there aren't enough of them to warrant alphabetic arrangement.

5. What's the hardest thing you've ever had to organize?

The hardest thing that I've ever had to organize hasn't occurred yet. It will undoubtedly be orchestrating our move out of California (which will occur in about a year). Although I am very much looking forward to leaving this state, I shudder when I think of all that's involved.

Posted on 8 May, 2003

An Infinite Number of Monkeys With Typewriters

From BBC News:

Lecturers and students from the University of Plymouth wanted to test the claim that an infinite number of monkeys given typewriters would create the works of The Bard. A single computer was placed in a monkey enclosure at Paignton Zoo to monitor the literary output of six primates.

But after a month, the Sulawesi crested macaques had only succeeded in partially destroying the machine, using it as a lavatory, and mostly typing the letter "s".

This study, of course, is complete invalid. Six monkeys are quite a bit fewer than an infinite number of monkeys. And, of course, one month is a far cry from infinity. But more importantly, a computer is not a typewriter. It's likely that they monkeys got distracted by playing games and surfing the Web.

Posted on 8 May, 2003

Excellence in Web Design

To create a compelling web site, go here for inspiration. Then do the opposite of everything you see.

Posted on 8 May, 2003

Microsoft's Fine

From ZDNet: Microsoft faces steep fines over Passport

Microsoft faces a possible investigation and significant fines for a security lapse that could have exposed the personal information of millions of consumers... Some reports have indicated that if the FTC tries to levy fines on Microsoft, the total penalty could be as high as $2.2 trillion if all accounts are tallied as violations. However, the number of people that have been locked out of their accounts may be a better basis for determining fines. 

I'm guessing that the fine will be closer to $0.00.

Posted on 8 May, 2003

Easy Weaning

Those who need to wean their calves or lambs should check out Easy Wean.

EasyWean nose rings provide an alternative to the stress inducing practice of separating young from their mothers during the weaning period. Easywean Nose Rings allow the calf or lamb to stay with it's mother and mob whilst still being effective at weaning the animal.

It's basically a nose ring with spikes, and works like this:

Firstly the calf is less able to access the teat with a nose ring flopping around in front of its mouth. Secondly the cow is made uncomfortable with the calf's persistent attempts, with the spikes causing her to move away from the calf. As a result the lactation is suppressed but the calf does not suffer the usual growth setback at weaning caused by separation and emotional stress.

I may be wrong, but it looks like a human version is also available. One for males, and one for females.

Posted on 8 May, 2003

Pete Townshend's Research Paper

The Smoking Gun has Pete Townsend's six-page research report.

Townshend was nabbed in January on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children, though no such photos were found following a search of his home and computer. At the time of his arrest, Townshend admitted using his credit card to visit a web site offering child porn, but told cops he was just conducting research.

Posted on 8 May, 2003

Reducing Blog Noise

The Register is reporting that:

Google is to create a search tool specifically for weblogs, most likely giving material generated by the self-publishing tools its own tab.

It isn't clear if weblogs will be removed from the main search results, but precedent suggests they will be. After Google acquired Usenet groups from Deja.com, it developed a unique user interface and a refined search engine, and removed the groups from the main index. After a sticky start, Usenet veterans welcomed the new interface. Google recently acquired Blogger, and sources suggest this is the most likely option

I think it's a good idea. Blogs do create a lot of noise when doing a Google search. The problem is that a single page often covers many unrelated topics. For example, it's not fair that someone ends up at this blog after doing a search for "rubik's cubes at wal mart."

Posted on 8 May, 2003

Glow in the Dark Toilet Seat

Human creativity has no bounds.

It glows in the dark, for when you have to go in the dark.

Posted on 8 May, 2003

The Bone Viewer

The eSkeletons Project...

...is funded by the Division of Undergraduate Education of the National Science Foundation as part of the interagency Digital Libraries initiative sponsored by the federal government. The purpose of this site is to enable you to view the bones of a human, gorilla, and baboon and to gather information about them from our osteology database.

It features an interactive bone viewer, and a comparative anatomy feature that lets you compare the same bone across different species.

Posted on 8 May, 2003

The Longest Palindrome?

A palindrome is text that is spelled the same in both directions. For example:

Murder for a jar of red rum

Here's a good candidate for the longest palindrome ever. It starts out with:

Star? Not I! Movie - it too has a star in or a cameo who wore mask - cast are livewires

And ends with:

Star? Not I! Movie - it too has a star in or a cameo who wore mask - cast are livewires

In between are nearly 19,000 letters.

Posted on 8 May, 2003