AUG 23

Love in the Time of Cholera **** : Probably the ultimate story of love in all its forms. A difficult read at times, but ultimately very rewarding.

tags: book-reviews vacation-reads
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JAN 31

I set up my first Linux KVM (kernel-based virtual machine) this week. It was a lot easier than I was expecting (using Ubuntu 8.04).

Using KVM for virtualization is nice because it uses a lot fewer system resources (RAM in particular) than hosted hypervisors such as VirtualBox or VMWare. Plus installation is quicker and easier. And performance is probably superior.

The official Ubuntu documentation on installing KVM was very useful. I followed it almost exactly. There is also a decent HowtoForge KVM tutorial. One tip is that you don't need to specify the "qemu:///system" in the virsh commands (e.g., "virsh list" or "virsh start ubuntu" work just fine on my system).

If you are running Linux, I highly recommend checking it out! It's very cool.

tags: linux virtualization ubuntu kvm
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OCT 22

I've always liked reverse polish notation.

I learned about it in high school and became addicted in college. My trusty HP48 calculator helped me through four years of engineering classes but left me unable to use a regular calculator! Seriously.

If you think about it, "regular" calculators are very counterintuitive. Sometimes they operate infix (such as "2 + 3 =" to get 5) and other times RPN (such as "4 sqrt" to get 2) and still other times in some sort of funky prefix (such as "2 + 3 = + 4" to get 9). And don't get me started on the memory functions (MR, MC, etc.). I'm surprised anybody can use a regular calculator.

Which brings me to the point of this post: I can't use the built-in calculators that come with Windows, Ubuntu, Mac, etc. I used to emulate the HP48 using Emu48, but the performance wasn't that great. Last week, I found grpn. Simple, fast, and beautiful RPN elegance. All I need now is a Windows version...

tags: rpn math applications
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SEP 21

I used to link to an excellent article from on Renting vs. Buying: The Realities of Home-Ownership. But they asked me to remove the link. It's too bad because it was a good article! I have never heard of anybody asking somebody to remove a link in this situation, but it isn't worth the hassle so I just removed it.

tags: investing real-estate
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FEB 14

Dell's DisplayPort Folly: Good PCWorld article that pretty much sums up my own thoughts on DisplayPort, which can be pithily summarized as: Why?!

tags: prognostications technology
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FEB 10

I spent a lot of time in 2006 and 2007 working on the WiMedia Logical Link Layer Control Protocol specification (WLP spec for short). Publishing a specification like WLP is a lot like filing a patent. You do a lot of the work early on, and then the actual publishing process takes a really long time. It's almost anti-climatic when it does finally get published.

In any event, it's available on the WiMedia web site if you're interested (unfortunately there is a click-through license agreement that you must fill out to read the spec). I worked on the security sections, sections 6.6 and 7.2 and annexes A and C.

tags: me-on-the-web wireless specifications
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JAN 21

The Chamber ** : Reads fine, Grisham is a competent writer, but no fireworks. Flawed by too many 180 degree shifts in character personality throughout the story.

tags: book-reviews fiction vacation-reads
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JAN 12

Stardust ***** : I loved the movie, and the book is even better! Beautiful, mellifluous writing and gorgeous accompanying illustrations. One of Neal Gaiman's best works.

tags: book-reviews fantasy fiction vacation-reads
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Venus Prime 1 *** : Better than I expected and an enjoyable end to my sci-fi reading blitzkrieg while on vacation in Costa Rica.

To Sail Beyond the Sunset ** : Heinlein is either a genius provocateur or just a dirty old man. Either way, this book didn't take for me.

Revolt in 2100 *** : Classic Heinlein space opera pulp fiction. Overly simplistic and unrealistic solutions to social problems, but it's fun reading.

tags: book-reviews science-fiction vacation-reads
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I received a letter in the mail last week concerning a class action lawsuit against Seagate for misrepresenting hard drive size.

This is a classic example of a bad class action law suit. I feel bad for Seagate. They are no different than every other hard drive manufacturer in representing 1 GB as 1000^3 bytes instead of 1024^3 bytes. Using the SI prefix instead of the historical computer system increases the size over what's reported in Windows and other operating systems by about 7 percent. And I think it's the right thing to do.

At one time in computing history, it may have made sense to stick with 1K=1024. Back then, memory and storage were scarce. And people did very low level programming where they needed to know about every last byte. But nowadays, most of that is abstracted away from us. And given the ever increasing role of the metric system in the world, we really need to stop this archaic practice.

I've written previously about how 1 kbps continues to be misrepresented as 1024 bits per second, when it is really 1000 bits per second. Google still hasn't fixed this. Nevertheless, in the networking world, 1K=1000. The IEEE agrees as well.

We also have the new KiB, MiB, etc., units, which provides a solution for people who want to stick with power-of-two based units.

For the rest of us, let's get with the SI system and make 1 KB = 1000 bytes, 1 MB = 1,000,000 bytes, etc.

Getting back to the lawsuit, I find it hard to believe that the lead plaintiff was in any way hurt or negatively impacted by Seagate's representation of GB as 1000^3 instead of 1024^3.

Sadly, after reading the class action lawsuit web site, it seems that Seagate has already settled. I'm sure this makes sense for them as litigation is costly. Nevertheless, I would have liked to have seen them fight the good fight.

The lead plaintiff gets $5,000. The lawyers get $1,792,000. Since I have purchased five or six Seagate hard drives during the period in question, I am eligible to receive about $100 back if I wanted to. But I'm not going to file a claim. It just seems wrong.

tags: seagate lawsuits kbps
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APR 14
AT&T built a secret spy room to help the NSA spy on Americans' Internet communications. I can't say that this sort of thing surprises me any more given the complete erosion of privacy in our country. Not sure if this applies to Comcast (my current Internet provider) or not, although at one time I think AT&T owned Comcast's Internet operation. (In the article it says that it only applies to the dial-up customers, but who knows...)

Good thing I use ssh and https as much as possible. I'd like to use Tor more as well, but it's just too slow. I'd like to be able to threaten boycott of Comcast if they are involved too, but there is really no alternative available that delivers the same speed/cost performance.

tags: at&t nsa internet spy privacy
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MAR 28
The answer to life, the universe and the third moment of the Riemann zeta function should be 42... very interesting article from Seed Magazine.
tags: mathematics physics
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SEP 17
Tokyo Flash -- these guys have some crazy watches!
tags: japan watches
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AUG 17
The Register does it again: Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New "Intelligent Falling" Theory. Be sure to look closely at the picture in the article. I love the hand flicking the ball off the counter and the equation on the bottom of the screen: dx/dt = 1 Cor. 1:10. Too funny...
tags: creationism humor
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JUL 17
Open letter to the Kansas school board and the origins of the universe according to the Flying Spaghetti Monster theory.
tags: politics humor creationism
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NOV 25
Recent Gallup Poll confims it: 45% of Americans are dumbasses. Good thing that they all get to vote.

I guess this explains the recent actions to get the theory of creationism back into science textbooks. At least some people are fighting back against this idiocy with textbook disclaimer stickers.

(I have the full text of the Gallup Poll and can e-mail it to you if you are interested.)

tags: creationism
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