Random Thoughts

Tech, words and musings from an Englishman in Seattle


Golf is good, golf is fun. On Monday, my buddy Steve and I took the day off and went to play golf at Twin Rivers in Fall City. I turned up at around 8.30am and hung out before our 9.06am tee time waiting for Steve.

Twin Rivers is my kind of golf club. It's not pretentious, the course flows naturally around a lot of old trees, and the clubhouse is basically a shack with a greasy spoon inside selling burgers. Down to earth, and welcoming.

Anyhow, Steve and I tee off and after finishing the first hole, we can't figure out where the next tee box is. We look at the map on the scorecard to no avail and finally realize that we missed the big red "First Tee This Way" sign and had started on number ten by mistake. Oops.

Anyhow, we carry on and sometime later we reach a nice par four, and after two shots we are both about 25 feet from the hole, just off the green. I reach for my eight iron and putt/chip it straight into the hole. Then Steve reaches for his pitching wedge and does exactly the same! We both got birdies, both from chipping in off the green!

Needless to say, my normal game quickly returned...

On hole number one (our number ten) we were joined by a really nice 87 year old guy. My word, did his swing look awful, but it just worked. 200 yards, straight down the middle, every time. He had us beat easy. Whenever I lost a ball (which was quite often), he would reach into his bag and give me another one saying, with a smirk, "I've got hundreds of these at home and I'll never live to use them all". I bet that's because he never loses any...

Page Load Performance

The page load speed has been noticeably slow recently, so I've just updated all my referer tracking stuff to cache the generated data, and regenerate the data every 10 minutes. This should hopefully address all the issues. Shortly, I'll be removing the links to external tracking sites. Let me know if you see any issues.

Studio Part Deux

Last night me and the boys went back into the studio and came out with a pretty damn good, almost final, mix. Just a few issues left to tweak and we'll be done. Now onto the naming, track ordering, artwork and duplication...

Very, Very, Freaky

Strange, but absolutely true! Just go ahead and try it!

While sitting at your desk, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles. Now, while doing this, draw the number "6" in the air with your right hand. Your foot will change direction and there's nothing you can do about it.

Oh Poop - It's Post One Hundred

As it's my one hundredth post, I thought I'd discuss something serious; something close to my heart; something like... dog crap.

So there I am on Sunday, happily plodding around the house when Nabila lets me know that Anna (our neighbour) has offered to cut our lawns for us to return a previous favour.

The problem is that the lawns are a minefield. With poop. Big dog poop.

Now normally I don't have too much of a problem with picking up after Maddy (our Old English Sheepdog). But that normally occurs on a walk, and you usually only do it once per walk. But it has been months since the grass in our gardens was cut, and Maddy drops her WMD in there every day, and not just in one spot either. So there I am (stupidly in my new Vans) brushing through the tall grass with the poop scoop tool trying to find the emissions. And they don't acquiesce to capture easily too, as, of course, it has been quite warm. Sometimes I long for a nice freeze to harden up those puppies.

Nevertheless, I finally finished the unpleasant job.

Oh, and did I mention that our wonderful dog has an love of nappies (diapers for the Americans in the audience). Full, used, dirty diapers. Some of those torpedoes in the gardens contained a lot of roughage.

My pal Andy is a clever bloke. He pays a man to come round to his place every month to do the job for him.

Sauce Reader

Just trying this new aggregator out. It appears to be very cool - a C# app and has that Outlook look'n'feel. It also includes what appears to be a great (well, we'll soon find out just how great) weblog publishing tool. I pointed it at my MoveableType installation and it found my various blogs, recognized the available categories, etc...

This post is being created with it, so we'll see just how great it is.

I currently use SharpReader and Bloglines. SharpReader is looking a tad too basic these days, so if it proves stable I think Sauce Reader will be replacing it for my offline RSS reading.

Sauce Reader is in beta right now, but appears to be very solid. Go download it over at Synop's site.

Update: So the post made it out fine, but its formatting isn't xhtml compliant as it uses uppercase for tag names. Also, it includes <p> tags, which doesn't work nice with MT's convert line break option. I guess I could turn that off though.

All in all, the aggregator looks good, and I'll be using it.

Blog Discovery

Usually I try not to talk about blogging, because blogging about blogging seems slightly self-referential and a bit like posting for postings sake. Ah well, never mind. I'll probably do a bit more of this anyhow ;-

Blogs are interesting. It appeals to the voyeur in all of us - a peek from behind the curtains of our houses into someone else's life. And damn fun too.

Generally, the average user looks at websites - they don't use aggregators. They go from link to link to link. This is why blogrolls (or just plain inter-website links) are so important and accomplish a number of purposes:

  • Enable discovery of other sites by users. Usually sites that you find interesting.
  • Boost google rankings - how many times have people 'asked' for a link?
  • By linking to another site (whether via a post, or a sidebar link) and performing a trackback ping, generally your site will get automatically linked back from the target site, thereby improving your own google ranking.
  • And probably a whole bunch of others...

The problem is that this just gets unwieldy. For casual surfing, have you tried casually surfing through Scoble's blogroll? It's just too big.

What's needed is a very user friendly frontend for the 'average' web user. Bloglines is pretty good (and I use it), but you've got to add feeds of your own before you get any sort of recommendations. What's needed is somthing like google news, or more likely MSN's NewsBot where you can register your interests and likes; where it tracks posts you are interested in and offers up recommendations based on those. I could go on and on.

A bet this already exists and I just don't know about it because, ahem, it's hard to find.

As an aside, whilst writing this I notice that Scoble has just blogged on this very topic, but more along the lines of "work the system" rather than "we need a new system".

AVSim Conference

Looks like the AVSim Flight Simulator Conference is starting up...

A couple of days ago we did the video shoots for the presentation the Flight Simulator team is doing on the "Myths Of Flight Simulator" or something like that. I got filmed for a few sections on graphics performance, video cards, etc... so enjoy ;-)

Assuming I can get hold of the videos I'll put them up here somewhere.

btw - say hi to Victor (Flight Simulator Dev Lead) and be kind to him ;-)

Pleasure Boat Captains For Truth

Yee Haa! Make sure you check out the videos - it's about time we had some balanced reporting in this campaign.

When George W. Bush talks about his past, he uses the words "reckless" and "irresponsible." He claims that in 1986, after half a lifetime of hard drink and easy women, he finally sobered up-- and he wants us to believe he'll never revert to his hard-partying ways.

But the captains who piloted his pleasure craft during those "wild" years, as well as his fellow pleasure craft revelers, see him in a very different light.

Pleasure Boat Captains for Truth


Read the story before viewing the video (you may need audio).

This is a car advert from somewhere. When they finished filming the ad the people who made it noticed something moving along the side of the car, like a ghostly white mist. The ad was never put on TV because the unexplained ghostly phenomenon frightened the production team out of their wits.

Look closely as the car turns the corner and clears the trees you will see the white mist crossing in front of the car then following it along the road...

Classic Car Advert


Studio Time…

Finally, Spank (the band I'm a guitar player for) goes into the studio!


Yesterday we laid down all the basic tracks live, and today did a few overdubs, all the solos and laid down the vocals. And wow, does it sound great! Even the raw, roughest of mixes sounds incredible - Paul (owner of the studio) was a dream to work with - and is a god with ProTools. Everyone in the band performed their best - we did very minimal overdubs.

We came out of it with a rough mix, and will be hopefully performing a full mix later this week. Then comes naming the album, art concepts, duplication, etc...

Music is such a joy. My day job is a very creative one, which I enjoy very much, but to produce something completely separate, that is such a labour of love, with a few good friends... well... wow.

Anyhow, once we get the thing mixed and named, it'll be here for your aural pleasure.

Shock, Gasp! Non-Microsoft Software Has Security Holes Too?

Why is it that people are always touting the supposid instability and security-flawed nature of Microsoft products, but then go silent when OS-X or dare I say it Linux, reveal holes?

Today, from CNET:

The patch fixes software flaws that could enable an attacker to crash or freeze the Apache 2 Web server, run software by utilizing Apple's Safari Web browser or expose the password store used by the network. Security information provider Secunia ranked the Kerberos threat as "highly critical," its second-highest danger rating.

Typically, Apple has just talked about it's fixes to security flaws and patches as minor updates. At least now it is being a bit more open about it. I guess with Linux, you can just download the patches for whatever myriad version you're running from some site and just recompile the kernel. Sounds secure to me.

A Plethora Of Steves

From Annals of Improbable Research.

The July/August 2004 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research includes lots about Steves. We have put the entire article online: "The Morphology of Steve," by Eugenie C. Scott, et al

As a Steve, I think you all need to read this.

By the way, what is the plural of "Steve"? "Steve's" seems wrong (not possesive usage), but "Steves" just seems plain daft...

New Sightings

A while ago I talked about an interesting, very well writen blog from a UK ambulance man. Now here is an equally well written and interesting one from a UK policeman. Go check it out.

Camping Labor Day Weekend

Well, we didn't, but many of our friends are camping at Kanaskat-Palmer State Park this weekend. We all (including Maddy) went over for the day. Great site, right on the Green River.

On another note, we're finally getting Julian sleeping in his crib. Its a bit of an effort, but he finally seems to be getting used to it. A little bit...

First Steps

First Steps

Up until today, Julian kept taking one or two steps and then just falling over. Today at about 7.45pm, he just stood up and walked across the living room. He hasn't stopped since...

© 2001 to present, Steve Lacey.