Various bits of flotsam that washed up on our computers, before we moved to a better blog system in November 2004. Now a repository for YouTube videos and testing new tools. Go to for more recent content.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Musical meme

From TooMuchSexy, we read of a silly iTunes meme (shuffle playlist, post first 10 songs). Since we are fairly bored today, here are our results....

1. The Butterfly Collector

Jam, The Collection

2. Someone Else's Song

Wilco Being There

3. Hadzi-Baxes Vassilis Tsitsanis

Vassilis Tsitsanis 1936-1946

4. Prole Art Threat

Fall, The 50,000 Fall Fans Can't Be Wrong

5. smoke gets in your eyes

Bryan Ferry Another Time, Another Place

6. The Trees They Do Grow High

Pentangle Light Flight

7. Naked Eye (Totally Nude Mix) Luscious Jackson Naked Eye

8. Navigator

Pogues, The Rum, Sodomy And The Lash

9. Cut You Loose Strehli, Angela Where The Heart Meets The Soul

10. Mama, You Been On My Mind

Dylan, Bob The Bootleg Series

Gmail invites

Google keeps giving me more invites for a Gmail account. If you don't have one, and you wish to get your very own gig of email space, drop me a line in the comments, and give me a reason to give you one.

I won't accept money, but other less tangible items, like interesting photos, stories, poems, etc. will be considered.

Have a Drink On me

Our puritanical nation, and its weird obsession with health strikes again.... - Health JournalThere is a drug that can lower your risk of heart attack, diabetes, osteoporosis and mental decline by 30% to 60%, but doctors aren't prescribing it.

The reason? It is alcohol.

Increasingly, scientific research supports the idea that drinking a small amount of alcohol each day is better for you than never drinking at all. This isn't true for people with some conditions, but overall, data collected from large observational studies show that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol can lower the risk of dying by about 25% in any given year for the average person, compared with those who rarely drink.

The evidence that alcohol is good for you continues to spark debate in the medical community about whether doctors have an obligation to inform patients about the health benefits of drinking. Because excessive alcohol consumption can be harmful -- causing addiction, traffic accidents and potentially fatal medical problems -- most doctors say it is never a good idea to tell a nondrinking patient to start consuming alcohol. Although most people can drink responsibly, it is impossible to know which patient may eventually start to abuse alcohol as a result of moderate daily consumption.

....So while the evidence is strong, it isn't conclusive. As a result, the American Heart Association doesn't recommend drinking alcohol to gain cardiovascular benefit, noting that there are less risky ways to protect your heart.

But the issue poses a significant dilemma for doctors. If a physician is aware of a drug that could have life-saving benefits, he or she has an ethical and legal obligation to inform the patient -- even if the drug carries risks. Shouldn't the same rules apply to alcohol?


Not to mention medicinal marijuana, another good-for-you-for-certain-ailments drug that shall not be named by doctors, because there could be societal repercussions.

Here's a look at the benefits of moderate drinking.


Heart attack
37% lower risk in men who drink five to seven days a week

34% lower risk of developing disease; up to 60% more protection for diabetics at high risk of heart attack

40% to 60% lower risk with one to two drinks a day

42% lower risk with consumption of one to three drinks daily

Women who have six or seven drinks a week have significantly higher bone density than nondrinkers
Source: Southern Medical Journal, July 2004

In a scientific advisory statement issued in 2001, the American Heart Association noted that there were at least 60 studies linking alcohol consumption with lower heart-attack risk. Research also shows that regular and moderate alcohol consumption lowers risk for diabetes, osteoporosis, dementia and stroke.

For instance, in the Nurses Health Study, which follows more than 80,000 women, those with diabetes who drank at least a half-serving of alcohol a day had a 52% lower risk for heart attack than nondrinkers. (A serving is a glass of wine or beer or a shot -- 1 to 1.25 ounces -- of whiskey). A 2,000-patient study showed that people who were moderate drinkers in the year before heart attacks had a 32% lower risk of dying during the four years after the heart attack. A 17-year study in England of more than 5,000 men found that moderate drinkers were 34% less likely to develop diabetes.

Ironically, the Puritans drank rum and whiskey like it was water.
Americans steadily drank more and more whiskey during the early 1800s as supply increased and price tumbled. The annual per capita consumption of distilled spirits in 1830 was five gallons--nearly five times the amount people consume today. Like rum, whiskey was legal tender. People bartered with whiskey, paid their taxes with whiskey, and on some occasions, paid their ministers' salaries with whiskey.

And realistically, because alcohol (and thc) also stimulate the pleasure centers of a user, somehow this means that it cannot be good. Asprin is ok because it doesn't make you high.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Bob Dylan: A Work in Progress

I still want to read Chronicles Vol 1: of course, I've read excerpts.

"Chronicles, Vol. 1" (Bob Dylan)

Anyway, interesting article on Dylan by Nat Hentoff.... - Bob Dylan: A Work in Progress:

Bob Dylan: A Work in Progress By NAT HENTOFF

I first heard Bob Dylan in 1961 at Gerde's Folk City on West Fourth Street in Greenwich Village. He was 19 and wore a leather cap, blue jeans and well-worn desert boots. I was not impressed with his voice, and certainly not with his rather rudimentary guitar playing, but the lyrics to his original songs were intriguing.


In our conversations, however, Dylan expressed increasing resistance to being categorized. During a 1964 interview for The New Yorker at a restaurant in the Village, he told me: "I'm not part of no Movement. If I was, I wouldn't be able to do anything else but be in 'the Movement.' I just can't make it with any organization."

Not long before, in the Grand Ballroom of the Americana Hotel in New York, where he was to receive the Tom Paine Award for his civil-rights songs from the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee (which took cases the American Civil Liberties Union would not), Dylan had infuriated the audience by at first rejecting the award because, he told me, he felt no connection with these people "with minks and jewels who had been with the left in the '30s." But he was persuaded to come back and make his speech, which riled them further because he asked what they were doing for his friends in Harlem, "some of them junkies, all of them poor."

As the years went on, Dylan's songs became more personal, sometimes rather surrealistic, and he dealt with continuing fame by being more and more reclusive. The fame began to gradually diminish, but he still went on the road trying, as he has said, to be discovered by a new audience. He still plays more than 100 dates a year because "I don't really feel like anybody else is doing what I do." And the recent publication of his singular memoir, "Chronicles Volume One" (Simon and Schuster), underlined the strong and continuing interest in him by both the once young and the new young.

In one of the many reviews, most of them admiring, Timothy Ferris, in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, noted that the work of the "iconic" Mr. Dylan "is scrutinized in at least 120 books and on 1.5 million websites."

The book, written in a conversational and freewheeling style, reveals more of this intellectually curious and quizzically introspective pilgrim than ever before. Although I knew Dylan reasonably well in his Greenwich Village years, I was unaware, for instance, of the range of his reading then (Robert Graves, Balzac, Chekhov, Milton, Dickens, Gogol, et al.)

Nor was I aware of his acute interest in jazz. He knew the music of Charlie Christian, Fats Navarro, Gil Evans and, he writes, "if I needed to wake up real quick," he put on records by Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. In jazz clubs, he heard Miles Davis, Cecil Taylor and, one afternoon, he came upon Thelonious Monk, "sitting at the piano all alone." Dylan told Monk he played folk music up the street, and Monk replied, "We all play folk music." (I wonder if Monk knew that Louis Armstrong had said exactly the same thing years before when asked about his music.)

"Chronicles" moves in and out of Dylan's journeys, not always chronologically. The kaleidoscopic nature of the book -- full of precisely evocative imagery and many characters as distinctive as his own -- reminded me of lines from T.S. Eliot's "Burnt Norton": "the end precedes the beginning, and the end and the beginning were always there before the beginning and after the end. And all is always now." Now that I know how adventurous Dylan is in his reading, it's possible he's read Eliot; but in any case, he understands -- and lives in -- the rhythms of "Burnt Norton."
more excerpts

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

earthquake and tsunami relief

Earthquake & Tsunami relief donation sites, borrowed from the NYT.

I personally sent a few dollars via the Doctors Sans Frontiers organization.....

NYT: Donations: Agencies Accepting Aid Dollars:

Following are some of the agencies accepting contributions for aid to people affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Asia.


P.O. Box 1856

Merrifield, Va. 22116-8056



247 West 37th Street, Suite 1201

New York, N.Y. 10018

212-967-7800 x108


45 West 36th Street, 10th Floor

New York, N.Y. 10018



AFSC Crisis Fund

1501 Cherry Street

Philadelphia, Pa. 19102



International Response Fund

P.O. Box 37243

Washington, D.C. 20013



Tsunami Emergency

P.O. Box 17090

Baltimore, Md. 21203-7090



27 South La Patera Lane

Santa Barbara, Calif. 93117



Earthquake/Tsunami Relief

1919 Santa Monica Boulevard, Suite 300

Santa Monica, Calif. 90404



South Asia Tsunami Relief

Box 321

847A Second Avenue

New York, N.Y. 10017

212-687-6200 ext. 851


Southeast Asia Earthquake Response

Dept. W

P.O. Box 2669

Portland, Ore. 97208



8320 Melrose Avenue, Suite 200 Los Angles, Calif. 90069



Asia Earthquake/Tidal Wave Relief Fund

54 Wilton Road

Westport, Conn. 06880



Southeast Asia Earthquake Emergency

P.O. Box 6098

Burbank, Calif. 91510


Monday, December 27, 2004

browser wars continue

How much bad press can one product get and remain a market leader?
Pogue-NYT: Yet Another Reason to Not Use Internet Explorer:

Attention to anyone who's still foolish enough to use Internet Explorer:

As though your Web browser weren't vulnerable enough to spyware, secret ActiveX controls and other hacker attacks, security experts have now unveiled an even more insidious hole. Phishers (people who try to intercept your Web passwords and private information) can now make any text they like appear in the address bar. They can, for example, make it look like you're viewing the Web page of PayPal or eBay; when you "log in," you'll actually be sending your account information straight into the phishers' databases.

Using my site as a skewed test ground (because I link to Mac related news, my share of Mac browser is probably higher than elsewhere), the IE share is currently somewhere over 60%, with Firefox and Safari both over 10%. I don't have a saved graphic from last summer, but IE was closer to 80%, and Firefox was less than 5%. I personally use Safari most, Firefox next, Camino next, and IE once or twice a year (for specific sites that are written to only work in IE; these sites usually suck too, btw)

B12 Partners browser share

Thursday, December 23, 2004


A.P. asked me about the Theremin recently, and apparently there is a device made by Hiwatt, sold at Amazon, that simulates the sound of the Theremin.

The Theremin was invented in 1920 by a Russian physicist named Lev Sergeiyvich Termin (his name was later changed to Leon Theremin). It's a unique instrument because the Theremin is played without being touched! As your hand approaches the antenna, the pitch gets higher. The Hiwatt engineers decided to add a new dimension of sound to the Theremin by adding delay to the unit. The Hiwatt Theremin has 300 milliseconds of delay that adds more depth and greater ability to create sci-fi sounds

This isn't an actual Theremin, but a guitar effect pedal, sold at various guitar stores, such as MusiciansFriend, and elsewhere.

Theremin pedal


"Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage (Music in American Life)" (Albert Glinsky)

"Theremin - An Electronic Odyssey" (Steven M. Martin)

MacFixIt - Mac OS X 10.3.7 (#5): Network slowness, fixes; More on deleting network links for startup problems; more

I have had some problems with java loading slowness. I'll try this solution from MacFixIt...

MacFixIt :

Java causes Safari to crash Several readers report broken Java functionality under Mac OS X 10.3.7. This has caused an inability to access a variety of Web sites, including Yahoo's chat rooms and others.

Some users, experiencing this problem in Safari, have been able to resolve it by using the "Reset Safari" option located in the Safari application menu.

Others reported that re-installing the Java 1.4.2 Update 2 does the trick.

By far the most successful workaround, however, is clearing Java caches.

In order to perform this procedure, go to the /Applications/Utilities/Java folder. You will notice Java 1.4.2 Plugin Settings and Java 1.3.1 Plugin Settings. Launch both of these applications, select the cache tab in each, and click "clear". Attempt to access problematic sites again.

Correcting washed-out color photos

Excellent tip on correcting those mid-day photos, from CreativeBits. I had done this in the past, but then for some inexplicable reason, forgot about this quick fix technique.

CreativeBits: PS: Correcting washed-out color photos:

Many times you are stuck with a washed-out photo from digital camera or scanned photo. Most people who try, find that quick adjustments in Levels or Curves will certainly boost the colors up, but they also destroy all the details in the photo.

Fortunately, Photoshop offers layer modes! Make a duplicate of the photo on another layer, the easiest way is hitting Command + J. Then, set the layer mode of the newly created layer to Overlay. This should really boost the color & contrast, but not mess with your highlights and shadows.

Apple - Apple Retail Store Survey

Apple is giving away a 10 dollar coupon, if you fill out this brief survey. Took about 4 minutes, for me anyway.

Apple - Apple Retail Store Survey :

That's why we would greatly appreciate your feedback regarding your experience at the Apple Store. Your participation in this survey will help us to improve the retail shopping experience.

As a token of our appreciation for completing the survey, we will send you a $10 discount coupon for your next purchase of $100 or more at any U.S. Apple Store retail location.(1)

Friday, December 17, 2004

Pink Whiskey?

I dunno, this might not be what I'm looking for in a late night drink. I might think the pink elephants are after me. ahem.

Entertainment Ireland :
After waiting 20 years for it to mature, the staff of Bruichladdich were understandably keen to sample the latest batch of their single malt whisky. But there were red faces all round at the distillery on the island of Islay last week when they decanted the first drops - and saw that it was bright pink.

Five thousand bottles of the rosy-hued spirit go on sale this week with the nickname "Flirtation" after what distillery bosses are describing as a five-week "liaison dangereuse" with some red wine barrels.

While traditionalists may be spluttering into their tumblers at the idea of a pink whisky, experts are predicting that younger consumers, female drinkers and the pink pound could be tempted by the €100-a-bottle tipple.

Bruichladdich, which prides itself on its natural production methods, decided to finish its second edition of The Twenty in wine barrels to distinguish it from the award-winning first edition, which sold out soon after it was released in 2001. After 1,040 weeks in bourbon casks, the whisky spent just five in Mourvedre wine casks, an experiment designed to add a suggestion of fruit flavour that resulted in unexpected effects.

In search of "a dram that was a little different", Mark Reynier, the managing director of Bruichladdich, a former wine merchant who bought the small distillery with four colleagues in 2000, tracked down the barrels of Mourvedre.

"When we found some of these barrels we thought it would give it the richness of a sherry cask but with a spiciness to it," he said.

"We thought we could put these two together and get a little extra nuance of fruit. But by mistake we have got this pink colour. It is an aberration - a very pleasant aberration."

According to the company's website, "the result of this dalliance is that the unexpected profound spirit shows the gentle nuances of alluring fruit flavours, with just a hint of subtle spice aromas adding to the overall multi-layered experience."

Mr Reynier denied that "Flirtation" was a marketing gimmick, insisting it had been the result of a genuine mistake in the production process that he hoped they could turn to their advantage. "This is a sensational whisky for connoisseurs. It's a very complex, very profound whisky that has a slight nuance of fruit to it. This is a serious whisky, it's not a frivolous thing. It has caused a huge furore in the industry. Half the people are saying 'what the hell are they playing at' while the other half are saying 'why didn't we think of that first?'

link courtesy of the ever essential Too Many Chefs food digestion section

JPEGs of Death

So be careful of those nude pictures of Tinsley Mortimer you find, especially wardrobe malfunctions at dance clubs, or camel toe shots...
JPEGS of Death:

Be careful if you're using Windows to look at porn you find via the newsgroups this week: IDG reports on the appearance of a batch of new .jpeg images that contain invisible code designed to take over your machine. Frankly, we're not too clear on the technical details, but the article advises you to make sure you have the latest Microsoft patches installed and that your virus definitions are up-to-date. (Of course, you can always use a Mac like we do and surf for porn worry-free.) Who knew that naked boobies could be so lethal?

"Hackers use porn to target Microsoft JPEG flaw" ("JPEG Virus in the Wild?" (

Tinsley Mortimer

Laserjet 4550N repost

My HP Laserjet 4550N is refusing to print, and prints reams and reams of paper before every job. Every once and a while I get "49.2FD3 Service Error".
Piece-o crapo! Incredibly inconsistent behavior. Mac OS X Panther 10.34, Windows XP, and even directly from the printer menu: all exhibit the same symptoms.

Update, per the knowledgeable folks at FixYourOwnPrinter, the problem is with the Transfer Belt Unit. A work-around is to open the back cover right after a blank page comes out, then close it again. I don't know why this works, but it does.

Update the second: I replaced the entire transfer kit (which includes a new roller), part number C4196A, and vacuumed/wiped every part I could find, and this has apparently fixed me. YRMBD*.

*Your Results May Be Different

B12 XML file is a secondary feed, with summaries only is the main B12 blog index, with longer excerpts

Audioscrobbler flaws

The Audioscrobbler method of building musical profiles in order to locate new artists is fairly interesting.

Audioscrobbler is a computer system that builds up a detailed profile of your musical taste. After installing an Audioscrobbler Plugin, your computer sends the name of every song you play to the Audioscrobbler Server. With this information, the Audioscrobbler server builds you a 'Musical Profile'. Statistics from your Musical Profile are shown on your Audioscrobbler User Page, available for everyone to view.

There are lots of people using Audioscrobbler, but you probably won't be interested in most of them. The Audioscrobbler Server calculates which people are most similar to you, based on shared musical taste, so you can take a look at what your peers are listening to.

With this information, Audioscrobbler is able to automatically generate suggestions for new songs/artists you might like. These suggestions are based on the same principles as Amazon's "People who bought this also bought X,Y,Z", but because the Audioscrobbler data is what people are actually listening to, the suggestions tend to make more sense than Amazon.

My profile

However, listeners like myself, with deep libraries, possibly get slightly misleading statistics. I have nearly 600 Bob Dylan songs, so when I randomize my iTunes list, Dylan frequently gets played. In other words, one particular Dylan track is not played often, but Dylan in general is.

I bought the Camper Van Beethoven box set a few months ago

"Cigarettes & Carrot Juice - The Santa Cruz Years" (Camper Van Beethoven)

, and played the entire thing a couple times (83 tracks). Does this mean CVB is my second favorite band (or third, since Audioscrobbler is extremely literal, and counts Dylan, Bob differently than Bob Dylan. Eventually, the Audioscrobbler people claim, these will be merged together)? No, not really.

I suspect Lightnin' Hopkins will soon jump to the top of the list too.

So Audioscrobbler (and my style of randomizing my playlist) is weighted towards artists with extensive catalogs - (Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Conet Project, Tom Waits, etc. - are over-represented.

So what's the answer? Who knows, I'm just a kvetcher, not a belly itcher.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

replacement iPod battery

Sounds like a good stocking stuffer to me....

Newer Technology NuPower High-Capacity 1800mAh Apple iPod Replacement Li-Polymer(internal) Battery for all 1st & 2nd Generation (aka 1G, 2G) iPod Models. 46% MORE Capacity vs. Apple battery! Installation tool included. 15-19 hour run times reported! (NWTBIPOD1800M12)


Newer Technology has the replacement battery you need! And, as a bonus, our replacement battery for your iPod adds a whopping 46% extra run time! The original Apple battery was rated at 1320mAh, our High Capacity version offers a fantastic 1800mAh!

The Newer Technology replacement battery uses the same Lithium-Polymer battery technology as the original battery that Apple used. A detailed instruction manual, and installation tool is included.

"Apple 4 GB iPod Mini Silver M9160LL/A" ()

Tulips? or coffee?

The WSJ can't decide if the iPod is a tulip mania, or the beginning of a longer term bonanza (such as the rapid, steady and long-lasting market for coffee and other caffeinated products) for Apple

From - Out of Tune: IPod Shortage Rocks Apple

The iPod line is now a crucial piece of Apple's business, accounting for 23% of Apple's $2.35 billion in revenue in its most recent quarter. Since it began offering them in October 2001, Apple has sold over 5.7 million iPods, more than a third of them in the company's latest reported quarter. In the holiday quarter alone, some analysts expect Apple to sell more than four million units.

Consumers have adopted the iPod faster than they did Sony Corp.'s Walkman in its early days, about six million of which sold in the Sony device's sixth year on the market, estimates Piper & Jaffray Co. analyst Gene Munster.

Apple, in contrast, has sold approximately the same number of iPods in about half the time. More than five million iPods, in contrast, were sold by its third year on the market, though the Apple product is still dwarfed by the 300 million Walkmans sold during that product's 20-year history.

Surprising to many analysts is the fact that the iPod is increasing its market share every month, even as it faces an onslaught of lower-priced and improved devices from rivals including D&M Holdings Inc.'s Rio, Dell Inc. and others. Apple's share of the market for digital-music players that store songs on hard disks rose to 92.7% in October, from 81% during the same month last year, according to NPD Group.

The iPod is a key attraction for Apple's chain of 100 retail stores, which are an increasingly important part of its business.

Me, I just am happy to play mine.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

errors again

Doh, I thought this would be safe to post to, but I guess not

001 EOF while reading from control connection on file:/var/www/html/2004/11/simmons-on-sacramento-kings.html

Kevin Drum, schmuck

The Rittenhouse Review notes
And this quote is just terrific: “One regular source of this sort of complaint was Kevin Drum, the in-house blogger of [t]he Washington Monthly and something of a clearinghouse for smart liberals on the web.”

Yes, there’s Kevin Drum. There’s always the not-very-photogenic Kevin Drum.

Yes, he thinks he’s a liberal. Yes, conservatives think he’s a liberal. Yes, he likes that conservatives think he’s a liberal.

But do you know what?

Kevin Drum is not a liberal.

No, he certainly is not a liberal. I would call him more of a schmuck, in the Zell Miller school of pseudo-Democrats even. For a while, Calpundit was on my 'reading' list, and briefly at WashingtonMonthly, but then the whole Daily Kos smear happened, and subsequent slams on other bloggers, not to mention Drum consistently taking political positions to the right of whiney-Joe Lieberman. Bleh.

Template change, archive recreated

I don't know why, but I could not post to this blog without error for quite some time. I tried again today, and no problems. (I was getting ftp errors and java socket errors, etc. - my hosting company, doteasy didn't think the problem was on their end, of course, but nothing got fixed).

I since moved my blog to movableType, which is actually a better system, imho, and so won't really be using this blogger account, unless something goofy happens. I may give the keys to this blog to Matthew S, if he wants it. Or not.

Anyway, I think the archives work again, so that's useful. I considered reposting interesting things, but what's really the point. Mostly blogs are 'of the minute', and don't really need to be revisted. Blah blah blah.

To Hell With Good Intentions from the album "Mclusky Do Dallas" by Mclusky