Archive for February, 2005


So the laptop has registered ‘Order Received’ status on the order status page since I ordered it. That just isn’t going to cut it. Ideally, a webcam hovered over the workbench tracking the minutia of the Singaporean factory worker would be good. Otherwise, I’d like updates like “Processor fitted into slot” or “Assembler currently on coffee break”, updated every 10 minutes or so. Don’t they understand that I refresh that page every 30 seconds? Sheesh.
Sent apple an email. Seems to me I should have seen some progress on the order in the time since I submitted it.



What have I done. It appears that last night, in some fit of rage or mirth or some other rampant emotion, I actually went to the Store and purchased a powerbook. The only excuse I have is …. SHINY. They’re so shiny. Just look at ’em. SHINY.

So this will end a very very long era of not having any significant Mac products in my household. No, iPods don’t count. It was about time. I’ve been wanting to see what all the fuss is about for years, and now that the core of the OS is at least a UNIX variant, I can feel better about myself.

Good heavens, what have I done.


Now Playing!

I wanted to also try my hand at writing a WP plugin, and the results are the ‘Now Playing’ section over there on the right. Upsides: it has a control panel plugin, and you enter the values you want, and whammo, there you go. The one downside is that right now I’m abusing someone else’s server for the images. I need to either find a site that provides that as a service, or a way to download the images locally first, and then display them from there. I’ll keep working on it.
<edit – 2.21.2005/23:06>
Ok, so I took it down for now. It was pointed out to me that the site I was linking images to was intending for people to download images from, and (as I suspected), not link directly to them. So I need to come up with some code in the plugin that will download the images to your local site somehow, and then work from that instead. This may take a bit.


Ice Theme

So I wanted to try my hand at creating a CSS theme, and if you’ve switched to the Ice theme then you’re looking at it right now.

I’m really pleased with the way it turned out. I’d love to hear your feedback though, please leave me comments on this post!


Apache, logfiles and script kiddies

So in the past few months, something has been whacking my server’s apache log files. I did some tracking down, and found some disappointing stuff. This is clearly someone attempting to exploit apache (or web servers in general), by sending invalid, and in fact, data designed to overflow the server process and grant some permissions.
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Product Review

PMX 60 Neckband Headphones

Can’t beat it with a stick

So I was recently down in the Data Center, doing my usual overnight equipment setup, configuration, cable making or whatever. I had received a set of Sennheiser MX 500 earbud style headphones for Christmas, and I was listening to my iPod with them. Their cord length is just about perfect, maybe a touch too short, but generally, if I run them down my back, it keeps the wires from getting in my way, and I keep my front clear and can still listen to my tunes. Continued use, though, showed me that my ears just aren’t shaped real well to hold onto the buds very well, and over time, they need to be fidgeted with to get them to stay in, and even then, I’m not getting what I would consider well focused, directed sound.

So in doing a bit more research, the next best option seemed to be neckband style headphones. Having heard good things about Sennheiser, and having experienced the quality of the sound on the earbuds, I figured I’d try their product in this line, the PMX 60. The basic specs and a quick click on the ‘Technical Data’ link will show some pretty impressive figures for sound clarity and quality. But you know… ultimately, I need to listen to them. I want it loud, with very wide range songs, and I want it directed well along the ‘sound path’ in my ears. I just received them, and have since listened to them on a variety of sources, from the iPod to my computer to the output from the stereo/tv receiver.

Holy crap are these things nice. The sound clarity is excellent. Tones are rich and deep, never tinny and high are nice and crisp. Tone definition along the range is clear and distinct with no muddling up or smoothing along any part of the range. Just damn nice.

Another thing occurs to me too with these. I always assumed that the wraparound neckband style phones would have some sort of adjustment that would accomodate people of different head/neck sizes. They don’t. But you know something? They fit perfectly. Is this some strange new universal constant? Is the distance from the back of the neck to the top of the ears the same for every person on the planet? Color me befuddled, but grateful.

In short, I’m completely sold on Sennheiser products. These are just another in a very strong line of quality audio products, and I’d recommend them to anyone who tolerates me long enough to ask.

[xrr rating=9/10]


Comment spam effort

So, ever since I’ve put this up in this format, I’ve been trying to control the comment SPAM that seems to plague blogs on a periodic basis. If you’re not familiar with this concept, count yourself among the fortunate. My first effort was simply to force that all comments would require moderation. This was good, and it did help, but it ultimately doesn’t solve the problem. It just means I have to go in and ‘clean up’ the comment moderation queue every once in awhile of all the crap in there.
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Moved to WordPress 1.5, and with the exception of having to do a little bit of reworking of my theme, it was nice and clean. Very impressive team, good job! I’m going to start looking through the plugins again when I get a chance, and see if there’s anything new I want to implement. In the meantime, thanks again for making a great product that makes keeping my site(s) up to date.


Checking in…

For those of you who read this more than you talk to me, I did finally hear back from eBay at the end of the day Friday. Their HR rep called and left a message, indicating that he wanted me to give him a call back so we could discuss “next steps”. I’m pretty relieved now. I think this means that we’re now into the negotiation stage, and past the stage where they’re questioning whether or not I can do the job they need me to do. So yay!


So how do you rate it

I’m currently in the process of entertaining an offer from one company, and my current employer is countering with their own. At the moment, I don’t have numbers from either of them. In the meantime, I’m going to assume that both of them come in with good salary figures, and that all other parts of the compensation package (401k, medical, bonus plans, etc) are roughly equivalent.

At that point, I have some pretty deep decision making to do. I need to somehow quantify the important things in a job (non-compensation), rate them on some relatively arbitrary scale and try and see which one comes out on top. To some extent, I find this a useful exercise even if I weren’t in the job market. It help you realize the things you do think are important in your job satisfaction, and keep mental score as you go to your job everyday.
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I’m Happy and Sad for you

I wanted to try and introduce the Style Switcher into my site to give people some options on how to display things. I realized fairly quickly that, at least in the case of that particular style switcher mod, that I would have needed to have introduced that concept before I started making significant changes to the index.php file or css file to achieve the current effect.
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Music Review

eMOTIVe – A Perfect Circle

Must Have

So yeah. I was doing some reading on their site, as well as a few fansites. There was alot of speculation on some sort of contractual obligation the group may have had with their publisher to produce a third album or whatever. Before purchasing, I was completely convinced that a “covers album” coming from them would be, while perhaps musically pretty good, of somewhat low production value, and perhaps also hastily pushed out the door.

I’m pleased to say that this is simply not the case. This is a tasty piece of work. Production value is excellent, having been handled artfully by Billy Howerdel. The general theme (appropriately timed) is all about the evils of War. While all of them are good, several of the songs stand out in particular.

The remake of “Imagine” (John Lennon) is dark and somber, definitely setting a different tone from the original. It almost gives the song a whole different message, just by changing the tone. “What’s Going On” (Marvin Gaye) is also done in a completely downbeat mode, slowing the song down and making it almost heart-wrenchingly sad. “People are People” (Depeche Mode) was a particular treat for me, since I was a huge fan of DM growing up. In particular note about this one is that the original song is almost completely gone. If you were to listen to just the tune of it, you would never even know what it was. As soon as the vocals begin, though, it becomes obvious, and man, what a great variation.

Finally, to finish off the list is “Fiddle and the Drum” (Joni Mitchell). Holy shit this is good. I can’t compare it to the original since I haven’t heard that. It was both re-arranged by and sung by (all voices harmonized) Maynard. I have to say, this is just a masterpiece. I’ve had several … I’ll call them ‘episodes’ of listening to just this song (all 3 minutes of it) over and over for 20 or 30 minutes. It is completely haunting and melodic. And the lyrics (thanks Joni!!) are masterful and poignant. Phew.

Anyway, I was awed. A definite must have.

[xrr rating=8.5/10]

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