January 20, 2009

World of Goo!!!

See!!! World of Goo!!! PLAY!!! World of Goo!!! BUY!!! World of Goo!!! Listen!!! to World of Goo!!!

And now the NSFW version:

Posted by thom at 11:24 PM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2008

The Big Bounce?

Modern physics has a problem: It can't model what happened during the first few picoseconds of the universe. When they do the math using their current models pesky little infinities rear their infinite little heads and the whole endeavor quickly goes to hell (or rather, infinity) in a hand basket. Now, if you're like most reasonable people you're probably not going to sweat that first one millionth of one millionth of a second (0.000 000 000 001 seconds). Luckily physics seems to attract unreasonable (or at least anal retentive) types who insist it's important to know such things. Seems they have come up with something that might just work.

Posted by thom at 05:27 PM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2008

The Pull of the Moon

If you haven't had a chance to look yet go check out the moon. It's at its perigee. The full moon is the largest it's been since 1993. You should go look now since it's going to start shrinking now.

Posted by thom at 11:53 PM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2008

New Toys

I now have to find a blogging tool that supports an iPod Touch. Entering html tags manually is way too painful. I like it so far but I also need to find an easy way to put PDF files on it and view them.

Posted by thom at 05:14 PM | Comments (0)

April 22, 2008

Audiophile is another word for Guliable

Case and Point.

Posted by thom at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2006

Nerd Files

The other day I stumbled across a site with links to 195 programming books available online. The best I've seen so far is called The Programmers' Stone. It's a bit abstract, but is talks a lot about the deeper aspects of programming which is something I've been thinking about. Tonight I found a link to How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School which I'm finding useful too (chapter 2 in particular).

If this post had a point I would state it now, but it doesn't.

Posted by thom at 08:12 PM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2006

Why Software Patents are Bad

At this point the only thing software patents are achieving are providing employment for lawyers.

Posted by thom at 11:14 PM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2005

Mighty Mices

"According to New Scientist, a Rutgers University geneticist has found that turning off a specific gene for the protein stathmin makes mice fearless." Seeking cheese without fear....

Posted by thom at 12:55 AM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2004

The Days of Horkage

The changeover to a new web hosting service seems to be complete. If you've sent mail to in the past 48 hours or so, well, it might have kinda disappeared. While I was (attempting to) reconfigure the mail application with the new server information I discovered that you can add to the list of servers but there is absolutely no way to delete ones you don't need (or in this case, created by mistake). It is a stupid flaw in an otherwise excelent application. Fortunately I discovered the solution. It's kind of like discovering you turn the ignition key to start your new car but have to open the hood and rip out your spark plug cables to stop it — it works but is a dumb way to design a car. Or a computer application.

Both the thompaul.org and the paulthom.org domains will now bring you to the same page (i.e. this one). The pair of domains started as a joke because my mom always addresses me "Paul, I mean Thom" and my brother, Paul, "Thom, I mean Paul...". We figured this way she'd always be able to find our webpages. We were going to get dot com domains but by the time we tried to register them some guy already took one. Drats.

Final nerd trivia: the old permalinks are hopelessly munged so I need to fix all the old ones. But now I know how to avoid horking them ever again. The secret is to run MySQL to store the blog data and export the SQL data. Do not use the Movable Type export/import feature since it pretty much guarantees severe link horkage.

Posted by thom at 01:27 AM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2004

Busy, Busy, Busy

The time has come for the big switchover. The new home of iba is thompaul.org, my OTHER domain. You won't need to change anything since paulthom.org will end up pointing there in a week or so anyway. Unfortunately, the entry IDs (and hence the permalinks) have gotten hopelessly munged so I'm going to need to go thru and fix them at some point in the near future. This also means if you linked to any of my entries your links are hopelessly munged now too. Stupid computers.

UPDATE: The herbal viagra entrepreneurs (or as I like to call them: The Fucking Spamming Scum of the Earth) have been busy. Luckily, MT-Blacklist works like a charm to prevent most of it. It is very satisfying to look at my log files to see all their failed attempts. But they don't just have herbal viagra, phentermine, and penis enlargement pills to advertise. They also posted hundreds of links about hot lesbian sex. Honestly, I don't have anything against hot lesbian sex — aside from the fact that by definition it doesn't include me. Unfortunately, I was forced to add the term "lesbian-sex" to the blacklist file to prevent further spamming. So those days of iba readers posting hot links about lesbian sex would seem to over.

Posted by thom at 11:08 AM | Comments (1)

October 18, 2003

"Connection Closed by Foreign Host"

This morning at 3:34am I finally got ssh working so I didn't have to remember a password that looked something like "y^bQ*3mBonkBONK" every time I logged into my web host or copied a file. Bolstered by this success I tinkered a little more to fix another problem. Big Mistake.

Somehow I was mistaken as some sort of "L33t H4X0r" and my IP was banned from logging into the secure shell server. I can add entries to my blog and stuff like that, I just can't copy files to it anymore. It should have let me back into the system after an hour or so, but now, nearly 20 hours later, I still can't. Anyone else can log into the server - just not me.

Unfortunately, my brother (who supports thompaul.org) also has the passwords needed to open a help ticket through the web host's (semi-)automated system, and he's in New York City at a wedding. Incommunicado. He gets back Monday, which means the problem won't get fixed before Tuesday or Wednesday. Thus I am an unusually grumpy nerd today.

Posted by thom at 10:49 PM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2003

A Rotating Universe

After my previous entry about All Things Fabio I decided this entry should be deep and philosophical. I also noticed it is after 1am so decided to bail on that idea. Instead I present an article about two brilliant friends. Personally, I find it one of the most fascinating stories of friendship in history. Your mileage may vary. Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.

Posted by thom at 01:07 AM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2003

Nerd Hell

I finally found a ssh client that supports file transfers so I can update anything I need to on my web site again. It also runs on Mac OS 8.0 which is great because now I can use my crusty old PowerBook 3400 too. Unfortunately, I can't find a remotely modern browser that supports anything less than Mac OS 8.6 so I'm stuck with Netscape 3.01. Two steps forward, one step back...

In other news: I laughed.

Posted by thom at 11:54 AM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2003

My Confused Digital Assistant

My Sony Clie got very upset the other day and decided to perform a hard reset in frustration. When I went to use my wireless keyboard I discovered the driver for it had somehow been deleted in the reset and restore from backup process. I'm not posting this blog entry because I think anyone will care, but because the manufacturer's website was so hard to find (even google couldn't find it) I wanted to save the links here in my blog where they are easy to find.

Posted by thom at 03:32 PM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2003

Nerdfest 2003

Well, I finally managed to get my linux box back to a semi-working state. It took only a few hours to discover that Red Hat Linux insists that it needs to mangle the DNS server address you give it into something that, well, doesn't stand a chance of working. Fixed that. Now I just need to figure out how to make it boot without explicit instructions about how to do it successfully.

My brother-in-law has convinced me to take another look at a free version of SmallTalk called Squeak. Sadly the installation process leaves a lot to be desired. Download four different files. No, wait, it's only three. Now run an installation script - or are there four, er, three installation scripts? Try running the program and it complains about libraries being the wrong version even though when I check they seem to be the right version. Search for the error message on Google to see if anyone else had the same problem. SUCCESS! Unfortunately, they didn't know how to fix it either. Complain about the whole mess in my blog before finally giving up and going to sleep.

Posted by thom at 02:50 AM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2003

Major Weirdness

My computer is hopelessly messed up. I'm going to try over the next few days to fix it but I can't even figure out exactly what is wrong with it. First I thought I got hacked, now I don't think so. Then I thought the disk had gone sour, then I formatted and it worked with no bad blocks. Then I reinstalled Linux and that seemed to go well until I rebooted. Linux panics saying it can't find a file system on the disk. Now I don't know what in the hell is wrong with it.

Posted by thom at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)

April 09, 2003

The Nerd Files

There is an interesting article about writing visicalc - the first spread sheet. Speaking of designing software...

How do you assign a value to software? I've been thinking about this and can't really think of a solution. How can you decide whether or not it's worth investing time and money into fixing a piece of software or tossing it out and writing something new from scratch if you can't answer this question? My experience is people sit around in a room, pull numbers out of their ass, communicate their vague impressions about the state of the software, then the boss pulls a number out of his ass and decides based on his number. I've heard Economics described as "the dismal science" but I think that fits the current state of software engineering too. Hopefully some wise software guru will find this blog entry through some search engine and tell me the answer.

Posted by thom at 10:35 PM | Comments (1)