September 03, 2003

Well, the time has come.

Well, the time has come. Over the next 24 hours or so I should be switching over full-time to the MovableType blogger software. It should replace the current website soon - no need to change any URLs or anything. If you're impatient you can check it out at If you're not impatient then, um, just wait a few days.

Posted by thom at 04:29 PM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2003

Kiss your ass goodbye

It's a cloudy gray day here. The website to download Squeak seems to be down so I was just doing some random surfing when I ran across this story about dropping nukes from prop-driven aircraft. Sure, most planes wouldn't be able to escape the blast and would be destroyed by their own bombs but the pilots weren't worried since it was the end of the world anyway.

Posted by thom at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2003

My brother-in-law, Todd, is in

My brother-in-law, Todd, is in town visiting (looking for employment). The first evening I discover my linux box has been trashed somehow so no internet access from home. No problem since Todd has wireless access through t-mobile which means we can sit in Starbuck's and surf the net. So, first thing in the morning we go to get coffee and nerd-out. We sit down only to find the signal is so weak as to be useless. We finish our coffee and head to another Starbuck's down the road. There we get absolutely no signal. Well, it's April 14th and electronic returns need to be filed so we head over to Buck's Restaurant in Woodside which is apparently famous for being a gathering place for VC's funding dot coms during the go-go days of the boom. They offer free wireless access as a service to attract VC's and nerds desperate to file tax returns. We sit down no more than 50 feet from the wireless node but get a uselessly weak signal again. When we left we found we got a great signal while standing in front of the restaurant so Todd checks his e-mail. He didn't attempt to file his return while standing there. Back home we fix things up enough that he can use my DSL and file his tax return. This whole wireless thing has a long way to go before it's useful.

This morning we're sitting around and get a phone call. Todd answers and within a few seconds I realize he's talking to his 2 year old daughter (my niece). I'm thinking my sister must have dialed the phone and given it to her. He talks to her for a few minutes before I start hearing him say "Are you still there Eileen? Did you wander away from the phone?" Eileen, at the tender age of 2, had apparently figured out the re-dial button (hereafter known as "the daddy button"). When she finally lost interest she wandered away from the phone leaving it off the hook.

Posted by thom at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2003

Are you a Nerdy TechnoPolicy Wonk?

If so, then you will enjoy this paper which argues, get this, that Lawyers and Politicians discourage innovation! As radical as this may sound, my experience in the software industry supports their case. Is the software biz really in trouble? Well, all I can say is that you can tell something is really a problem when even economists start to notice.

Posted by thom at 03:35 PM | Comments (0)

Originally taken in San Francisco

Originally taken in San Francisco nearly a month ago, these pictures have travelled electronically from the mystical land of Seattle mere moments ago. In the first picture I try not to crush my girlfriend. In the second picture, I kinda look like bono (except sexier, of course). Note "I can't believe you're wearing those stupid glasses" expression on Sarah's face.



Posted by thom at 12:54 AM | Comments (1)

February 21, 2003

Note to my gentle readers:

Note to my gentle readers: If you've been keeping up on my blog you'll know my girlfriend is now off in basic training for the army. This means she's not going to be able to post comments for another two months. Now is the time for you, anonymous reader, to step up and start posting some comments. Are my posts examples of true genius, insipid mediocrity, or just wallowing in self pity? Let me know!

Posted by thom at 07:00 PM | Comments (0)

I want this guy's job...

Palo Alto lawyer Bruce Train was in charge of the cleanup and redevelopment of the old Pacific States Steel site in Union City, CA. During his ten years as "Special Master" of the project the pensioners, for whom this was all set up to benefit in the first place, made nothing. Zip, zero, nada, diddly squat. Bruce cleared a cool $5 million for doing, um, well nothing it seems. I wish I could find one of these "Do nothing for half a million dollars a year" jobs but I'm not a lawyer so my chances don't look good. Oh yeah, did I mention that after he finally got fired he claimed he was owed ANOTHER $39 million? That is an additional thirty nine million on top of the original five. Now, I'm sure there are a lot of subtleties to this that I don't know and might even change my opinion on the whole thing. You can afford a lot of subtleties with five million dollars, but given what I do know this just seems wrong.

Saved by Lawyers! I read in the paper the other day that investors are "wary of investing in any technology that could have '[copyright] infringing' applications." Do they mean technologies like floppy disks? Like hard disks? Or CDs or CD burners? Or Ethernet or modems or wireless networks or even RAM for that matter? All of these have 'potential' infringing uses. All these years I never guessed how dangerous these devices were. Thank God Disney corporate lawyers have taken a stand to stop progress in order to, um, ah... protect the interests of multi-billion dollar transnational corporations. Too bad there weren't enough lawyers around to protect us from the invention of the computer. If only we could have nipped this evil in the bud. Luckily we have lots more lawyers these days to protect us from, um, ah, progress, I guess.

From the 'Slap on the Wrist' File. Hambrecht & Quist (owned by J.P. Morgan Securities) agreed to pay $6 million in fines for what amounted to kickbacks from customers eager to get in on hot IPO deals. This doesn't mean they "admit or deny wrongdoing," of course. No, no, no! Sure they defrauded billions out of small investors by taking companies public that they knew were poor investments, but think of all the money they made! Money that could be used to "invest" in corrupt politicians, to hire "retiring" regulators, and, most importantly, for executive bonuses! I've been assured by corrupt politicians, retired regulators (who now surprisingly work for investment houses), and corporate executives that this is a very good thing and will indirectly benefit me personally in some way at, um, some point in future.

Posted by thom at 05:44 PM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2003

I got a'ed dollar

I got a'ed dollar bill yesterday. Entered it into the system and found it had taken 276 days, 20 hours, and 28 minutes to travel the 2,362 miles from Port Richey, FL to me here in Belmont. If I had kids I'd make them enter as many bills as possible into the system. I am now off to the mall so I can release this little critter back into the wild. Fun stuff.

Posted by thom at 12:41 PM | Comments (7)

February 17, 2003

Bugs boogie in, but they

Bugs boogie in, but they don't boogie out...

Sarah: ew

Thom: ew?

Sarah: That beautiful clear subwoofer is a good insect trap.

Thom: *L* Poor 6 legged things. They just wanted to dance.

Sarah: Not sure how to get em out though.

Thom: Worry about it later... Bugs don't change the sound.


Thom: I doubt they're zombie bugs.

Sarah: Not sure how to get em out though.

Thom: Play it louder? Shake 'em out?

Sarah: No, they are quite stuck. ew ew ew...

Thom: The Care and Maintenance of your insect disco.

Posted by thom at 07:26 PM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2003

Do you think it's possible

Do you think it's possible for someone (a complete stranger to me, no less) to read my previous entry and then think, "Hey, let me try to ruin his Valentine's Day"? "Impossible!" you say, "No one could be that cold hearted!" Au Contraire, mon frere! Late yesterday I got an anonymous e-mail with secret links intended to cause nothing but problems. Within moments I became Thom Phillabaum, Nerd Detective and start checking access logs and timestamps on e-mails and weblogs. Needless to say, a few minutes later I knew exactly who sent the e-mail. Now I just want to let the perpetrator dangle a while like Columbo always did - that was always the most fun part of the show. More details after this word from our commercial sponsor.

Posted by thom at 02:33 PM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2003

Clearing out random bookmarks. Everyone

Clearing out random bookmarks. Everyone seems to be having a blah kinda day. Try baking a Pumpkin Pie. If someone says something vaguely profane to you try looking it up in Roger's Profanisaurus [THIS SITE IS NOT FOR CHILDREN]

The Waypath Project is an attempt to network the weblog community, connecting weblogs that share common themes, ideas, and topics. I bookmarked it once to remember to look at it again later, but got distracted.

Discovered The Ambient Ping is a decent place to find free ambient MP3 files if you're into that sort of thing.

Posted by thom at 06:00 PM | Comments (1)

February 10, 2003

Ever since I was a

Ever since I was a little kid I've worried about some pretty abstract problems - Free Will, Nuclear War, and the pointlessness of the Universe that eventually winds up with the Big Crunch. The more I read about chaos theory the more I think that Free Will exists. Nuclear War is still somewhat disturbing, but seems slightly more remote in some ways than when I was a child. Unfortunately, I guess it only seems that way. Finally, after reading "Faster Than the Speed of Light" I didn't worry so much about the Big Crunch anymore. Apparently, NASA isn't going to worry too much about the Big Crunch either. O Happy Day.

Posted by thom at 03:22 PM | Comments (0)

February 05, 2003

Fun checking your referrer logs!

Fun checking your referrer logs! Never say "Naked Butts" on your webpage or you'll find yourself linked to from this site just like my brother was. But then again he is in good company - like Naked anti-loggers in Perth...

Checking out some other links from that page I found this gem:

Have you ever wondered what color Darth Maul's butt is? I mean, is it red and black like his face? Or not? This is a very important subject to discuss, so let's give it some serious thought. Not just Darth Maul, if you want, we can also discuss other Star Wars characters' butts. Other interesting butts could probably be found on Yoda, Boba Fett and Darth Vader. What kinds of butts do they have under there? Don't bother bringing up the characters like Chewbacca and Jabba the Hutt, they walk around naked showing their butts to just anybody!
Posted by thom at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2003

For the kids you can

For the kids you can show them Star Wars in ASCIIMATION! For the adults, you can try this site. [warning: ultra-naughty, low-res images.]

If you had a bad day at work I would highly recommend this book to cheer you up. In fact, should you ever wonder what to get me for a special occasion this might be good.

You always hear about the US having "the best health care system in the world." I guess I have to ask, "Who gets to define best?"

Do you ever feel like you can't keep up with the arcane conversations about computers at nerd-filled parties? Well, read up on trinary computers and you'll be the darling uber-nerd of the evening. In related news, computer programs are great examples of how not to design things to be used by humans.

Posted by thom at 05:09 PM | Comments (0)

I've learned that my Pirate

I've learned that my Pirate Name is Iron Morty Bonney. Pirate Morty?

It's official! I'm INSANE!

First, I get a hard time for looking at boobies and then she tells me to look at this link. I'd also like to see more charity events like this.

I'm always up for some good poems and quotes.
Posted by thom at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)

February 03, 2003

A first! Someone other

A first! Someone other than my brother or my special lady linked to my web page. Thank you, Mr Guad! That's an specially nice webpage with a daring purple and green color scheme.

I've discovered YET ANOTHER LINK to my blog! Unfortunately, I'm still trying to find the link on the page. [UPDATE: Okay, I found it.]

I get the feeling I'm probably in trouble if I don't post this picture tonight. :)

Posted by thom at 11:26 PM | Comments (0)

February 02, 2003

As I've started to, um,

As I've started to, um, mature my eyebrows have started getting all wild and bushy. Drastic Action was required. My eyebrows feel much better now.
Posted by thom at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)

January 31, 2003

So, if you own a

So, if you own a palm pilot PDA then this online book site might be interesting. Too bad they only have those old, classic-type books (mostly). If you want a new book then check out "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom", you can download it for free. I still need to buy the dead tree edition to support this kind of innovation.

I know this story is kind old, but this sort of craziness always bugs me. Then I find stories like this one about the inventor of pop-up windows and feel much better. Apparently BMW owners have to have a good sense of humor. Here it is: Proof that the good old days weren't.

And finally, spotted this item on CNN.

Posted by thom at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)

January 30, 2003

Sarah: You're an ass. Thom:

Sarah: You're an ass.

Thom: Yes, I am but I'm yours.

[She just gives me a nasty look]

Thom:I'm your ass.

Sarah:I guess I have a huge ass. You know what's really sad?


Sarah:You're pretty hairy too.

Thom:I'm your huge, hairy ass?

Other quotes from the day:
  • "Are you looking at that man's chest again?"
  • "I have brain issues"
  • "Eat my brains and I'll be as smart as you."
Posted by thom at 06:51 PM | Comments (0)

While walking around the city

While walking around the city the other day a woman walked up to us and gave Sarah a sticker for "being the smart one." Then she gave me a sticker for, um, not being the smart one.
Posted by thom at 01:06 PM | Comments (0)

"What's with your hair this

"What's with your hair this morning?"

"What's wrong with it?"

"It looks funny. Um, I mean it looks good..."

Posted by thom at 11:49 AM | Comments (0)

January 26, 2003

Hooray for the YATTA Bowl!

Hooray for the YATTA Bowl! The TV keeps saying "You are now enjoying Super Sunday" like it's a command instead of an observation. I've spent most of my day trying to avoid the twelve hours of Super Bowl pre-game hype. Celine Dion will sing God Bless America. She's canadian, for God's sake!

Went to the San Francisco Zoo Friday with Sarah to check out the amazing circle-swimming penguins. Sure enough, they swim in circles. The zoo keepers posted an explanation saying that it is simply the penguins' "migration instinct" kicking in and that they should stop in February.

Sarah looked at them and said, "nuh uh, I've seen that before. It looks like military training." She was right before about the deadly jellyfish so I'm not ready to dismiss this yet. I'm waiting for February. I'll be on the lookout for commando penguins conducting operations in the San Francisco Zoo about then.

It all started long ago with "All Your Base Are Belong To Us". Then I found this parody of a japanese music video I had never seen (complete with a cool t-shirt I've decided I must have). The web is a strange place. I love it.

Posted by thom at 05:45 PM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2003

seen on slashdot: "It seems

seen on slashdot: "It seems that Finnish equivalents of American RIAA, Teosto, which represents songwriters and publishers, and Gramex, which represents music producers and artists, want to force Finnish day nurseries to pay royalties every time nursery staff sings along with kids. Previously Teosto enforced a law that taxi drivers have to pay royalties if they play music while a customer is in the backseat."
Posted by thom at 08:22 AM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2003

Allergic to Stupid People Sometimes

Allergic to Stupid People Sometimes you just hear something so dumb, you just can't contain yourself anymore -- like this guy.

Sex and Math: Being a nerd, I have to link to this fun little thing

Posted by thom at 06:06 PM | Comments (0)

My first computer an Apple

My first computer an Apple ][+ had zero fans. My current computer, a AMD-based machine has, um, I think eight -- maybe more. While fixing the problems caused by the CPU fan going belly up I discovered the fan that cools some really hot chip on my motherboard is making all sorts of I'm-about-to-die-too noises and I decided should pre-emptively replace it. Off to Fry's Electronics...

Update: The first pictures are in! Check out the burn marks! There was slight damage on the other side too.

Posted by thom at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2003

My next computer is a

My next computer is a Macintosh. AMD has come up with a great way to sell more CPU's: Sell your CPU's with cheap, low-quality fans that stop working after about a year and burn up the old CPU, thus forcing the customer to go out and buy a NEW AMD CPU TO REPLACE IT! Brilliant! With this kind of innovation the economy is really going to get rolling again soon. I'd show you pictures but, um, the camera is hooked to my CPU-less computer. You can see little burn marks where it exploded and everything! Apparently ASUS didn't pay AMD the needed fee to make the AMD part destroy the mother board at the same time so I hope all I have to do is get a new CPU. So, until I get a new CPU, you will be seeing very little of me online....
Posted by thom at 04:52 PM | Comments (0)

Why I like free software

Why I like free software best: I just tried to uninstall Pinnacle Express (it sucks, by the way) from my hard drive. The first thing it asks for is my serial number. It refuses to uninstall without it. I guess you wouldn't want to do any unauthorized uninstalls. I am very unimpressed. Great going, guys. Turn disappointed customers into customers that despise your incompetent crap.
Posted by thom at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

January 13, 2003

Ottawa: The Other Big O.

Ottawa: The Other Big O. In my previous entry when I linked to I didn't realize they had a story on Canadian erotica. Funny, I always thought that was hockey...
Posted by thom at 05:06 PM | Comments (0)

Due to budget cutbacks I

Due to budget cutbacks I had to lay-off my muse. Can't think of anything interesting to say today. I tried to write through my writer's block but have decided it's hopeless. Plus I've been typing a lot the past week (as incredible as that seems) and now my left hand is starting to hurt like I'm getting carpal tunnel syndrome so I've decided to take a break for a little while. In the meantime, I give you my todo list for the website...

The Official todo list:
  • Organize PDA archive better.
  • Start PDA Project Blog.
  • Get e-mail address set up and switch over to it as my official e-mail instead of dumb hotmail.
  • Add Discussion boards for blog entries so people can complain endlessly.
  • Figure out ISP's access-log format so I can a) add hit counters, and b) automatically add links back to people who link to my page.
  • Investigate this whole trademark thing.
I figure that's enough to keep me busy for a while...
Posted by thom at 03:50 PM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2003

I've decided to make it

I've decided to make it a bit clearer when I'm just quoting someone and didn't actually think up what was said. An example is below.

This is a test. This is only a test

Had this contained any actual information your head would have exploded.

Posted by thom at 09:42 PM | Comments (0)

Lottery UPDATE! Last night I

Lottery UPDATE! Last night I guessed two out of six numbers correctly. That means I won, um, $0US. On the bright side, my getting better at guessing numbers theory is working. No one else won last night so next Wednesday's drawing should be worth [Dr. Evil voice] a MILLION dollars (well, over $30,000,000 actually). Next update: Wednesday night!

I'm a nerd, shoot me now. I also now have the book Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (MIT Press, 1984; ISBN 0-262-01077-1) on my PDA! It's an excellent computer science text used in introductory courses at MIT. The language used in the book is Scheme, a variant of Lisp. Like I said, I'm a nerd.
Posted by thom at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)

There's nothing better than hacking

There's nothing better than hacking HTML in the morning Well, I finally got around to fleshing out my PDA Archive. These are articles that I like having sitting around on my PDA because they are informative, humorous or otherwise interesting. The HTML is still wonky and I'll be doing some clean-up over the next few days but if you ever wanted to snoop into what's in my pocket this is your big chance.
Posted by thom at 08:13 AM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2003

Follow your dream, but not

Follow your dream, but not too closely because if it stops really quickly you might run into it. Since I started my blog sometimes I wake up in the morning feeling like I want to race down and see what new things got posted in the night. Of course, I fully realize nothing shows up unless I put it here but still I get that christmas morning feeling sometime. Unfortunately, Santa didn't leave any toys in my blog during the night, not even a lump of coal, but I did find a copy of Novell NetWare in my sock this morning.
Posted by thom at 09:25 AM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2003

Cleaning up after the flood

Cleaning up after the flood I found an an old horoscope from August 1993 I liked so much I kept it around all these years:
If you know anything about physics, you'll understand why the wonderful thing you've been longing for has already been changed by your pursuit. It's no longer the thing it was when you first felt your desire for it. Now, in order to make it yours, you'll have to modify your ideas about what it is. Fortunately, you're in the right mood at the right time to do this successfully.
Posted by thom at 08:36 PM | Comments (0)

Thom: People here to fix

Thom: People here to fix leak. I might have to go suddenly...
sally: Tell 'em "Hi" and make sure they use their whole asses
Posted by thom at 05:33 PM | Comments (1)

January 09, 2003

I won $1US in the

I won $1US in the California State Lottery today. Yes I, along with 204,527 other people, correctly guessed the MEGA number: 14. That's only one out of six numbers, but it also means I'm getting better at guessing numbers! Soon I'll guess two numbers, then three. Once I get good enough at it the world is my oyster! I am also working to make my homepage PDA friendly. Not having a lot of luck there. Maybe I should buy another lottery ticket...
Posted by thom at 07:10 PM | Comments (0)

True confessions of the sweetest,

True confessions of the sweetest, funniest girl I know:
When I was a kid, my sister and I would take chalk out to the driveway and we'd make chalk outlines of each other, you know, like the police make. Only we'd trace everything but the arm and then trace it somewhere else. We'd also trace donuts and tell our folks someone had murdered a cop. We'd leave the heads off. It was horrible...
Posted by thom at 02:57 PM | Comments (0)