The Areas of My Expertise


On the way back from Austin, I strolled into the airport bookstore to get a bottle of water, and do my quick check to see if they actually carried any science magazines (the answer was no, per usual, though there were 12 or so gamer magazines there). However, they did have The Areas of My Expertise sitting out front. After reading the cover, and finding a Dr Who reference early on, I was hooked.

The book reads much like America The Book, though it is structured almost exactly like the Old Farmers Almanac. For instance, every chapter starts with a Lycanthropic Transformation Table, explaining time tables and effectiveness during the different sevenths of the moon cycle, and a brief description, including motos, of all 51 (yes 51) states.

I was enthralled for most of the trip back with the book, and laughing out loud, probably disturbing those around me, for the course of the trip. If you are a fan of dry wit and satire, you should definitely pick up this book.

Aaarrrgh... or was it aaaaargh?

I just saw a link to this analysis of internet spellings of Aaarrgh on jwz's blog. It is one of those fun uses of google, as well as an interesting look at word usage. There is also a fun flash version

When I was working on the Sydney Olympics in 2000, I was responsible for a big part of the "FanMail" delivery to Athletes from the FanMail.olympics.com website (it is long dead, don't bother looking for it). We ended up writing a modified soundex based system, with some other hooks, after doing an analysis of mispellings from the 1998 games.

MHVLUG makes Linux Format!

Last night when my fiance came home, I was quite surprised when she handed me a rather large envelope with the question "Who would have sent you something from Switzerland?". I was equally confused, until I opened it to reveil the latest issue of Linux Format.

The Linux Format folks contacted me and porkchop in November, to get a write up for MHVLUG as their overseas LUG of the month. Originally we thought it was going to be in the December edition, but I'm more than happy with it in the Jan 2006 issue. 🙂 So, go check out your local book store, and pick up MHVLUG in Linux Format. 🙂

A little more progress on TuxPlus

I got a little more progress done on TuxPlus over the weekend, my attempt to build a Linux recording program for the PlusDeck. I stopped being a complete retard, and started using the Device::SerialPort perl module for talking to the serial control port. From that I was able to map out all the RX serial codes from the PlusDeck, all mapped out in TuxPlus::Constants.

I should put together a sample control program, which might actually be enough to release the code. My next major challenge is actually interfacing with sound recording, and ecasound looks like the current best approach there. Though after realizing how bad things sound if the recorder isn't running at realtime priority, I may just have to write a setuid wrapper with a very small communications interface to it.

Adam West comes full circle

I noticed that there is a new The Batman animated series on the WB, so I promptly TiVoed it to see if it was any good.

I was most amused that the first voice actor I saw was Adam West as the Mayor of Gotham. I guess the death of irony was proclaimed a little too soon.

Adam West has had a revival in the past few years, as a voice actor, first, playing himself as Mayor Adam West on Family. I also noticed him on The Boondocks in the Trial of R Kelly episode.

BBC's 100 Things...

Just noticed this buried in the middle of a Groklaw entry. 100 things we didn't know this time last year is the year end almanac of BBC's 10 things we didn't know last week.

Among the best include:

12. Until the 1940s rhubarb was considered a vegetable. It became a fruit when US customs officials, baffled by the foreign food, decided it should be classified according to the way it was eaten.

19. The = sign was invented by 16th Century Welsh mathematician Robert Recorde, who was fed up with writing "is equal to" in his equations. He chose the two lines because "noe 2 thynges can be moare equalle".

35. The name Lego came from two Danish words "leg godt", meaning "play well". It also means "I put together" in Latin.

48. A quarter of the world's clematis come from one Guernsey nursery, where production will top 4.5m plants this year alone.

73. One in six children think that broccoli is a baby tree.

74. It takes a gallon of oil to make three fake fur coats.

88. A single "mother" spud from southern Peru gave rise to all the varieties of potato eaten today, scientists have learned.

Snow Fighting, the Alaskan Way

While digging out the 3 inches of slurpee on my driveway this morning, from our 6 - 12 inch storm that only dropped a couple inches of sleet, a friend sent me Snowfighting on the Alaska Railroad.

I think my favorite pictures is that of the Russell Car (shown right). Now this is a machine that is wonderfully designed for a single purpose. Unfortunately it was designed for a purpose that didn't actually work in Alaska, because the tracks are too curved. The Russel Cars all derailed very easily.

... but they still look really cool ...

Various rambling thoughts from my personal corner of the internet