novalis: (Default)
( Apr. 17th, 2008 05:30 pm)
What sort of statue would you make for a god of victories obtained through cheating or unsporting conduct?
novalis: (Default)
( Apr. 17th, 2008 12:23 pm)
I read [ profile] sinboy's copy of Little Brother, and then ordered a copy for [ profile] wiz_jord.

I think it might be better to read it as a work of journalism than as SF. The technologies involved are so real that I've actually met some of the people involved. And the politics are so real as to be utterly depressing.

If you have youths in your life who care at all about freedom (or even hip non-youths), you should pre-order this book for them.
novalis: (Default)
( Apr. 20th, 2007 04:09 pm)
I just got a letter threatening to sue me over this.
Here is the letter.

I'm so thrilled! I can't believe my luck!
novalis: (Default)
( Apr. 1st, 2007 03:18 pm)
I asked [ profile] regyt to marry me and she said yes. We're waiting until it becomes legal for same-sex couples to marry in New York, because it wouldn't be fair not to.

I am totally thrilled and delighted.
novalis: (Default)
( Mar. 27th, 2007 05:21 pm)
[plea for help at the end --- feel free to skip whining]

I have an account with Cingular. I am stuck with it (a) because I have a contract and (b) because it is the only cell phone provider which gets service in my apt.

The number started out as a Verizon landline in Cambridge, MA, was ported to T-mobile, and was ported to Cingular. I now live in Brooklyn, NY, but I wish to keep my Cambridge number because all my friends, family, and business associates have it. I recently asked Cingular to add another line to the same account, and to ship me a phone to go with the line. The new line will be used for [ profile] regyt's law business; it needs to have a Brooklyn (718) number so that her clients know that she practices in New York City. All of these numbers have been and will be billed to my Brooklyn address. Cingular told me that they would not be able to initially assign a Brooklyn number, but that if I called after I activated the phone, they would be able to. So, I ordered the phone on 3/13 or so.

I dutifully waited until the phone arrived (3/20), and activated it. Then I called Cingular. They told me that they could not in fact change my second line to a Brooklyn number while maintaining my original, Cambridge number. The reason I was given was that the two billing systems (Cambridge and New York) were not integrated.

I offered several solutions; all were rejected. Solution 1: Cingular could bill me for an individual account for my second number, and credit me for the difference in price. Solution 2: Cingular could create a new individual account with a Brooklyn number, and forward that number to the phone. Solution 3: I obtained a new Brooklyn number through a service called Grand Central. I asked Cingular to port this number in to the new line. Cingular refused, claiming that my Cambridge number and the new Brooklyn number had to be billed separately.

What I want to happen: I want Cingular to accept the port (or issue a new Brooklyn number attached to the same line).

The difference in cost is about $700 over the life of the contract.

What I have done so far: I've contacted the FCC to inform them that Cingular is refusing to accept the port. I'm considering suing.

None of this is actually going to work, because Grand Central sucks too much to use it temporarily while we wait for the FCC or courts to take action. We need a way to have a number temporarily forward to another that is free or cheap, and I just can't find one. Can anyone help?
novalis: (Default)
( Jan. 17th, 2007 10:39 pm)
Pan's Labyrinth.
Radiance, by Carter Scholtz
The House Beyond Your Sky (sorta like when Hitherby was good,but also like when Vernor Vinge is good)
novalis: (Default)
( Oct. 29th, 2006 03:19 pm)
Torchwood: watched one episode. The female cop brought all the male cops coffee. That pretty much sums up the whole epsiode. The BBC doesn't hate gay people -- just women.

Only Revolutions. Got about 150 half-pages in, gave up. A lot of style, no substance. Not even worth colorizing the title. Which is a shame, since House of Leaves was brilliant.
novalis: (Default)
( Oct. 18th, 2006 12:59 pm)
Gentoo finally accepted my bug report. I only had to re-open it three times and cite the ISO C standard.

Is it just me, or was this way more effort than I needed to go through? At least one verifiable bug was present in my initial report (it said do X, when I had already done so). Why did I need to go through all that? Sure, it's valuable to isolate a test case, but they could have done that as easily as me.

Anyway, I am starting to develop a stereotype of people who are fanatical about performance or security. Not all, of course -- but enough that I notice it.
novalis: (Default)
( Sep. 11th, 2006 08:28 pm)
Take 150 g flour and 1c water and 1/4 tsp yeast. Mix well, leave overnight.

Chop the top off a head of garlic. Wrap it in a couple layers of aluminum foil, and pour in some olive oil. Roast it at 375 for 45 minutes, or until soft but not burned.

Squeeze out the garlic. Take the oil from the garlic and add enough olive oil to make 1/4 cup. Add this, the squeezed-out garlic, 250 g flour, 1 tsp yeast, and 1 tsp salt to the starter. I found the dough too soft and sticky to knead on a counter, so I kneeded it in my hands. I did it unidirectionally -- squeeze and stretch the dough to form a log, then fold the log like a letter, and repeat until it feels right.

Allow it to double in the usual fashion. Optionally, refridgerate it overnight. This will produce a more sour flavor.

Shape the dough into a flat loaf -- no more than 1 inch high. Allow to rise until it stops -- when you poke it with a finger, it won't bounce back. While it's doing this, heat oven to 550 for an hour to heat your baking stone. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, with an initial blast of steam (basically, throw a cup of water at the bottom of your oven and close the door quickly). Flip it over at 10 minutes to toast the top.

Let it cool on a wire rack. This step is important -- otherwise, steam will destroy the crust.
novalis: (Default)
( Aug. 17th, 2006 11:58 am)
Off to Hungary this evening. Be back in two weeks.
novalis: (Default)
( Aug. 10th, 2006 11:16 am)

Dear TSA,

I hear that you recently banned liquids on planes. Also, the British have apparently banned all carry-ons. I just want to let you know that if TSA also bans all carry-ons (specifically, books), I will not fly (domestically) again. There is simply no way that I will sit on a flight without reading material of my choosing. I live in New York City -- it's a big enough place that I can spend my life exploring it.

I would rather add four hours to my trip than go one hour without a book.

I know that I am not the only American who feels this way. Please think of the devastating effects that a decision like this could have on air travel.

David Turner
novalis: (Default)
( Aug. 10th, 2006 09:38 am)
Either it has always been unsafe to allow liquids on planes, or something has changed such that it is was previously safe but is now unsafe, or it has always been and remains safe to allow liquids on planes. If it was always unsafe, then DHS should have banned liquids earlier. If it is safe, then liquids should not be banned. If something has changed, what is it? The only change we have heard about is that we arrested some people who were allegedly considering a liquid-based plot. So, DHS must not have imagined a liquid-based plot before the alleged terrorists. So, every single person at DHS should be fired, since all the smart security-minded people I have talked to have considered a liquid-based plot.
novalis: (Default)
( Jul. 31st, 2006 11:33 pm)
The Open Planning Project has hired me to write Free Software for them. I start in mid-September. It's a bunch of Zope and Plone stuff, which I have mixed feelings about. One one hand, Python is pretty good. On the other hand, Zope is pretty awful. On the third hand, we'll be improving Zope. So I guess we'll see.

Please address future licensing questions to [ profile] stargazer, my replacement at FSF. :)
novalis: (Default)
( Jul. 8th, 2006 09:09 pm)
We're holding Milk and Cookies at our place at 3pm on Sunday, July 30.

Milk and cookies involves milk, cookies, and reading out loud. Short stories, poems, essays, the good bits of novels, whatever. Shorter is better -- twenty minutes is usually an upper limit.

Bring cookies, or some other edible thing in that vein.

If you don't know where we live (and you're not an axe murderer), email me for an addresss.

In any event, RSVP.
novalis: (Default)
( Jul. 6th, 2006 10:03 am)
"The worst tyrannies were the ones where a government required its own logic on every embedded node." --Vernor Vinge, A Deepness in the Sky

Ask Bono to help fight DRM.
novalis: (Default)
( May. 24th, 2006 12:50 pm)
For the purpose of general discussion, systems, processes, and principles are the only things worth arguing about. Individual incidents are only worthwhile when they expose cracks in or between systems.

Any discussion of an individual case will either be resolvable within some system or proposed system, or will present problems for that system. If it is resolvable, then we are wasting time talking about it outside the system. If it presents problems, there is almost no chance that it is alone in doing so; we should figure out the class of things that presents such problems, and reform the system to address them.
I was at the 5th Ave street fair the other day, and I saw a T-shirt which said:

Building strong communities through drama.

Of course, I immediately assumed it was a Livejournal T-shirt.

In other news, I'm looking for someone (a) in New York, (b) who knows how to use Windows and preferably QuickBooks, and who (c) wants to do a small job in the depths of Queens. If you meet these qualifications, let me know your rates and info, and I'll pass those on to someone who has a few hours of work.
novalis: (Default)
( Apr. 25th, 2006 10:30 pm)
I visited the Brazilian side of the falls yesterday. I would have posted then, but the hostel's computers were busy. Remember, when you are looking at these pictures, that it is supposed to be *less impressive* than the Argentine side, which I visited today and will probably post about tomorrow or this weekend. Again, more photos later.

Oh, they're just little tiny falls:

Zoom out:

I like rainbows and cupcakes and ponies!

This is the largest part on the Brazilian side.

There's an observation platform right up next to the falls.

The spray here was quite refreshing.

You can't have ponies without rainbows. If I wish on the rainbow, I'll get the pony, right?

More ponies. Also, some asshole has his hand in my frame. What does he think he's going to catch if he reaches over the railing? Fairies?

Remember, this is just the baby falls.

I am not just testing a new GIMP filter. The rainbows really were there.

Sadly, they flew away before I could photograph the hot butterfly action.

There was a bird park next to the falls. Because the falls trail was not very arduous, I had time to visit. The birds in cages were tough to photograph. The ostriches, however, were crazy. When I get the chance, I'll edit down the videos I took of them running around crazily.

Please pass the plum sauce.

Some of the birds were very tame. This is like a foot away from me. Earlier, one of them went for my water bottle.

This ugly creature is a harpy eagle. Not particularly tame. They lay two eggs, and at some point, ther stronger child kills the weaker one. Nice beasts.

This is in the macaw cage. Outside the cage was a sign saying things like "optional", "enter at your own risk", "do not feed the birds", "do not touch the birds", "the birds may bite you even though you have done nothing at all to antagonize them", and "please remove all your w, x, y, and z before entering", where w-z were Portuguese nouns which I don't know. Maybe jewelry? Well, I can't remove my cuffs. And if any bird tries to attack them, I've got a tripod and I know how to use it. Religious symbols? Wait, I'm an atheist. Does that mean I should put on a cross instead? Anyway, this woman disobeyed the sign, and fed one of the macaws.

Did I say one? I meant three.

Well, at least it's only linear growth.

Hasn't she ever seen that Hitchcock movie?

Note: I saw here afterwards, so I guess she survived. Before I left the macaw cage, I saw this one, which must have been a Norwegian Blue. Lovely plumage, etc.