|log (2001/10/05 to 2001/10/11)|
Thursday, October 11, 2001
Even when a wound is healing, or healing as well as can be expected, it's irresistable, and it's healthy, to poke at it. Poking at it is painful, but by feeling just how painful it is, you can tell whether or not it's infected, whether or not it's festering.
They say there are people who cannot feel pain. And that those people are always in danger.
Reader name of Nigel Campbell (to whom I've linked before) has a bunch of neat images online. He was also kind enough to give me my Very First photo.net Comment (on my very serendipitous picture of light on the back steps).
Turns out that the very strange 5-pin flash connector on my camera can be made to talk to standard PC flashes (where PC apparently stands for "Prontor Compur", not "Personal Computer") via a cable melodically named "FL-CB04". Hafta get me one o' them someday.
Bit-packed site of the day:
The Internet Archive is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, we provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public.
Remember how I mentioned just the other day that anyone can make the Microsoft software on your computer do anything they want it to? Well, it turns out that anyone can make the Microsoft software on your computer do anything they want it to! How about that. (When I try to install the patch, it tells me that it's not required. I'm not entirely convinced.)
Are we sure about that "false" part?
The false quotes were attributed to President George W Bush and read: "Some children may have been subjected to the works of Mark Twain or Foucault, but this flagrant illegality will not continue. They shall not overcome. Whoever told them the truth would make them free was obviously unfamiliar with federal law."
A juicy rumor from last month:
They also believe that terrorists are in possession of all or part of the codes used by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the National Reconnaissance Office, Air Force Intelligence, Army Intelligence, Naval Intelligence, Marine Corps Intelligence and the intelligence offices of the State Department and Department of Energy.
Has anyone seen a debunking (or enbunking) of this one?
More Photo Madness today (did you like me more when I thought in words?).
A reader writes:
Anyway, just got the same camera myself and since you are ahead of me on the experimentation curve, I wondered what size smart card you liked.
As big as you can bring yourself to buy, which is probably 128MB. That holds a lot a lot of pictures (250 or so in "High Quality" mode). I haven't removed my 128MB card from the camera since the day I got it; I just plug the USB cable into the computer and xcopy the files off when the card gets full, or when I feel like it.
In fact as I hinted at the other day, the camera is the highest bandwidth connection I have between the laptop that work lets me use and the main family computer in the playroom. Anything up to 128MB can be copied onto the camera by one computer, and then after a switch of USB connections copied off onto the other. The camera doesn't really understand stuff that's copied onto the card, so to be safe and to reclaim the space I "format" the card after I do this. Which sounds scary, but is very quick and doesn't make any threatening noises.
So I've posted a few more things to my photo.net portfolio, and if I can find a little time I'll put up another dozen or so pictures on my own site. A few I'm afraid are rather clichéd; the photographer in the mirror and even an autumn leaf (sheesh! next it'll be fuzzy bunnies), but I'm still having fun. Zero comments so far, but a few reasonably tolerant numerical ratings.
I also stopped into a local camera store to chat about external flashes. Using the internal flash as the main source of light leads to boring pictures, because the light's all coming from just above the lens, and all texture and shadow gets washed out. The C700 has a strange little 5-pin external flash connector, apparently designed for an extremely expensive Olympus flash unit, and the guy at the store didn't know of anything cheaper it could talk to. But for thirty dollars I did pick up a little "slave" flash unit, which apparently flashes when it sees the main camera flash. A little expensive for a device that I'm just going to randomly play around with, but I promise to be good now and not buy any more toys for several minutes.
Speaking of pictures, did you hear about the picture of Bert on bin Laden posters?
A closer scrutiny of one of the photos reveals a second apparent faux pas on the part of the radical Islamic protesters: Another clip art photo of bin Laden used in the photograph seems to show him with a bottle of Jack Daniels.
So in the last few days, in the time that I'd usually spend randomly surfing and browsing weblogs, I've been hanging around on photo.net and environs, reading and posting picture critiques, looking over people's uploaded portfolios, reading funny stories from Philip Greenspun, and all like that there.
Some evidence of this new (and, I trust, short-lived) infatuation can be found on the Community Member page about me, and also my Portfolio page where I've now uploaded like seven pictures in two "folders": one miscellaneous one, and one of carwash pictures. Some of these are already on my own Digital Photographs pages (albeit in smaller sizes), and some aren't.
(I'm especially fond of A Severed Head, myself.)
Photo.net is an interesting place. It's almost entirely free, and has only unintrusive ads. I did pay the tiny yearly fee for unlimited email notifications; is charging for ego a viable business model? It's dense with mechanisms to encourage community and collaboration. It reminds me of (say) Amazon, while at the same time being very different from it.
An example: at Amazon it's a fair bet that the reader reviews of a science fiction novel will come essentially entirely from people who like science fiction, or at least can stand it, because otherwise they wouldn't buy and read the book. On the other hand, ratings and critiques of the photographs on photo.net can come from anyone, since the investment required to give a rating is just looking at a picture, rather than acquiring and reading a book.
So if you put up a picture of a cute furry bunny, there's no reason to expect that only cute furry bunny fans will rate it; it will also be rated by cute furry bunny haters, who will give it a bad rating no matter how wonderful it is qua cute furry bunny picture. And conversely a really great semi-abstract picture of light and shape that also happens to be a picture of a bathroom sink is going to get comments and ratings from people who don't understand semi-abstract pictures of light and shape, and are going to say things like "other than as an exercise, why take it? What would you do with this photo?".
Another example: I don't have a serious problem giving numerical "number of stars" ratings to books on Amazon. They're really really approximate, but on the other hand they're really really easy to do, and they help the server find other books that I'm at least somewhat likely to like (hate). On the other hand I have a really hard time giving numerical "one to ten" ratings on photo.net, because the primary audience for them isn't some automatic process looking for other pictures that I like; it's the actual photographer, and I don't want to depress someone by giving their favorite picture a low number. Textual comments I can make nuanced and helpful; but a number is just a number.
Politics: Today's obnoxiously-named legislation: the "USA Act".
To deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and for other purposes.
"Other purposes." Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say n'more! The ACLU is not amused.
As we strike military targets, we will also drop food, medicine and supplies to the starving and suffering men and women and children of Afghanistan.
I hate it when people drop bombs on other people. On the other hand, dropping food and medicine at the same time seems extremely cool, very XXIst Century. I have no idea whether or not it does any good on the ground, or if it's a cynical PR stunt. But the message is good. Like the Neutron Bomb, only the right way around.
If any government sponsors the outlaws and killers of innocents, they have become outlaws and murderers themselves. And they will take that lonely path at their own peril.
These words make me think of that "cycle of retribution" thing again. Isn't this the same sort of thing that a Palestinian, or an Orange partisan in Northern Ireland, might say to justify attacks against the US? Maybe they wouldn't be justified in saying it, whereas we are. Maybe.
In the meantime, the March of Progress goes on. Wrong Man for the Job: Oppose John Walters Nomination (for Drug Czar).
In short, the Walters drug record is one of propaganda, extremism and disregard for issues of racial equality. John Walters is unfit to lead the nation on drug policy, and should be rejected by the US Congress. Whether we can defeat his nomination or not, raising our voices in protest now will put pressure on the administration to moderate its drug policies.
If you send off the email that that site lets you send off, you'll get back a nice automated reply from whitehouse.gov. Among other things, it will remind you where to go to ask for a greeting from President Bush. Cool. Hi, there, President Bush.
Dave White's Five-Card Nancy has moved. Just so you know.
Let's see. The last few books I've read. (You don't need links today, eh? You can search on Amazon as well as I can.)
I mentioned "A Short, Sharp Shock" the other day; now I've finished it. It was lovely, as usual.
Then I read Christie's "The Murder at the Vicarage". Was that the very first Miss Marple? I remember in my youth I liked the Poirot ones, but despised Miss Marple. I seem to have mellowed with age.
Then I read Egan's "Quarantine". And realized, about a third of the way through, that I'd read it before. It was fun. The ending, the very last chapter, seemed entirely unnecessary, seemed like Egan copping out of the strangeness that the logic of the story was up until then barrelling directly toward. Odd.
Then I read Terry Pratchett's "Truth". It was very silly. Some very funny parts, some heartwarming stuff, some vaguely wise stuff. Pratchett's books so often seem so (what?) disposable. Similar to the feeling I get from much of Piers Anthony.
And now I'm rereading Austen's "Pride and Prejudice". More substantial writing, but still escapist, to the extent that caring about someone's happiness, rather than whether or not they live, is escapist this week.
Haemorrhagic Fever in Afghanistan?? Yikes!
Which renders almost too trivial to mention the fact that if you run MS Office, once again anyone in the world can make your computer do anything they want, unless you install Yet Another Security Update: Malformed Excel or PowerPoint Document Can Bypass Macro Security. Well, and even if you do, actually. But at least not in quite this same way.
I hadn't been to photo.net in a long time; boy, is that a redesign! At first I thought they'd sold out and become a consumer shopping portal or something, but fortunately they just look like one. I re-activated my ancient photo.net membership, and put up my first picture. If you're a photo.net member, go over and add comments about what an utter waste of electrons it is!
Well, you program them to recognize the genetic makup of Certain Individuals (hey, they've done interviews with western journalists; surely they accidentally dropped a bit of DNA), and when they find one of those individuals they... make little alterations. It wouldn't even have to involve death or anything. I'll bet it'd be tough to organize international terrorism if you, say, stank of rotting pork, or couldn't stay awake for more than ninety seconds at a time. Of course this technology might be a bit dangerous in the Wrong Hands (ref various SF novels of various levels of quality).
Lifting heavy glasses gives you strenth. Strength crushes heavy glasses.
Hey, it looked fine in Opera! *8) Thanks for the note; it's now been fixed to look right in less standards-compliant browsers also. (At least I think Opera was in the right this time; I'm never sure.)
Good cause of the day: Technodyke dot com. At least if the idea of arse-kicking left-wing tech-savvy lesbian websites appeals to you. I gave them some money and got a very nice note back.
So, no rebuttals to my reading of "The Kreutzer Sonata"?
Read all about it! Big flap about W3C policies on patents. Everyone's talking about it. Unfortunately since it involves the W3C all the important documents are eight times as long as they need to be and deadly dull, but at least there's lots of juicy flamage in the mailling lists!