December 28, 2004

Death Toll in Asia rises to 40,000

Arthur's OK.

As of this morning, the death toll has more than tripled from 12,000 to 40,000. Monsoon Asia is no stranger to losing thousands of people to floods and earthquakes, but a 9.0 is still quite rare.

I'll have to do some research to see if the US has ever had a calamity with such a death toll.

JFW 12/30/2004: I had no idea it would be that bad. 117,000 dead. Words fail to describe...

December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Another sign that I'm no longer a "not-brash-enough" teenager is my travel habits. It used to be that no matter what time it was or how bad the traffic was, if I wanted to head out somewhere, I went then and zipped through city traffic in third or fourth(OK... 5th more often than not) or took a number in the jams.

I had passed this lost man on the way to Intrex today who was using the turn lane as a "I'm taking a call" lane(CRV still in motion), thinking, "Either arrogant or terminally absent-minded, he's going to be a problem to someone". About 0.5M later, I got into the turn lane, not even thinking that the 60mph phonebooth might still be around. I was watching the oncoming traffic passing me on the left. I don't know what drew my attention to the rear, whether it was the rear view or the side, but I saw that same champagne CRV not coming up on me, but in my back seat, reaching to change the station! The driver's head, turned 90 degrees right, had no idea where he was going, in more than one sense of the word.

It was one of those moments where you tense up and relax at the same time. "Holy crap" and "My computer's in the trunk(still has unresolved issues). I never thought of hitting it with a light SUV...." I remember taking my eyes off the car and looking straight ahead, waiting for the impact.

Next thing I know, a champagne blur passes inches me on the right, and that #$%@ $#@&@ is still on the #*@)$ phone!!! It was one of those moments where you swore the car must have phased through yours, because there's no way it could have passsed that close and not hit you. But I checked the car afterwards, nothing. I made a note to check it's rear for license plate, decorations. No fish, "god is my co-pilot", election stickers, Car Talk cell phone bumper sticker, or out-of-state plate. It did have a purple paw print for some school, but nothing discernable. It was an older gent, less hair on his head than I, and peppered.

[yule-tide rant]
What kind of... mental deficient... rides the turn lane for over HALF A MILE TALKING ON HIS CELL! I was almost more mad that he hadn't hit me, create another statistic that the vast majority of people(myself included) cannot drive safely, hold a cell phone to your head, and carry on a conversation important enough to ruin your(and very possibly someone else's) holiday.

Times like this makes me want a more standardized celluar system. I don't know if the EU's GSM has anything in this respect, but it'd be great if the FHA could mandate vehicles to carry a hands-free system that would use a standard interface for users to communicate. Mercedes and BMW has had it for a while now, and I think I saw an Acura ad for it as well.

If the celluar system can get to a point of maturity where having such a system wouldn't seem so much as a frill as a necessity, and people can converse on such a system with the same ease and familiarity as talking to someone next to them, maybe-maybe-maybe the FHA can think about developing a standard for all manufacturers to follow.

...Then the traffic let up enough for me to make my turn and my mind that I'm waiting till tomorrow to go home.

Merry Christmas!

Posted by Jeffrey at 10:50 PM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2004

My Shots Don't Kill

I had a spare moment today, so I glanced over to one of my favorite online-art websites (Deviantart), for some new wallpapers or other coolness. What I came across was a bit more topical and concerning that I what I anticpated:

Its amazing, that even a 7 year old understands whats going on.

This is my lil neice *gee-money, Her mom and I were talking about the ban today when they came over, and she asked what we were talking about and I explained it to her. She likes to take pictures too, and she asked me what would happen if she took a picture in a subway, and if the police would think she was a bad person and take her away?

The questions a small child asks...

Since when are cameras a tool of terror.
When I click a button to take a photo, I dont harm anyone.

My camera isnt a weapon
and I am no terrorist.

Posted by Jeffrey at 2:36 PM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2004

SlackFTP: Why OSS Makes Me Happy

After having Fedora on my laptop for a while, I decided to yet again attempt another Linux install. Since the last install involved going with a non-current version of a distro, I thought I would try previous versions of other installs. This time around, I stuck to SUSE and Slackware.

Suse 8.0 has a footprint possibly on par with WinXP. Granted, I'm running vintage hardware, but a text-based install running on a 10Mbs connection should be manageable. Perhaps it was YAST, perhaps the servers I connected too just all happen to suck, but whatever it was, trying to put SUSE on my little laptop was akin to attempting to shoehorn a gorilla into Mini, and about as useful. During the install, it began to chug on the package distribution reading. Chug, chug, chug for about 2.5 hours until I gave up and looked at slackware again.

Sadly, Slackware had abandoned FTP installs for NFS several versions back. HOWEVER, thanks to the credited efforts of Juan F. Codagnone and DaniŽl de Kok, I can install Slackware 9.1 via most any ftp site I'd want.

It's relatively simple. Grab their version of the install.2 and the network.dsk images, write them to floppies along with bare.i, install.1, and pcmcia.dsk if you're like me and run your nic through such a card. Boot off the floppies as normal, then when you finish the install.2 dsk, pop in the network floppy, type "network" and load the module. Then press "f" to install the ftp kernal module. From there, you run "setup" and go through the install process as normal up until the install media. Then you see the almost tear-inducing "Install from ftp..." option.

Woo Hoo! After running the setup from that, you're off to the races. Now, I'm running Slackware 9.1 on the puppy, and rather speedy as well. Possibly faster than Fedora, even after I cut off all it's glimmer and shininess.

I haven't had much time with play with it yet, but I'm looking forward to doing some kernel crunching and CSC homework on the puppy in the coffeeshops again. Whee!!!

Posted by Jeffrey at 4:33 PM | Comments (0)

December 4, 2004

PSA: Sugar Free Jelly Belly

Just a warning to those who snack on jelly beans: DO NOT EAT THE SUGAR-FREE JELLY BELLIES!
You remember the ultra-gnasty jelly beans released for Harry Potter? These are worse, and not even branded with a large red-and-white label warning the consumer that what they're about to eat will erode their very soul and will to live.

How can I impart to you how terrible these things are? It is not that they have a peculiar flavor not associated with candy that surprises you the first time you eat it. Some taste that is acquired and after a time(like good vodka, cognac, or beer) even savored? No, these taste like the dirty ass of someone who ran a marathon through the amazon jungle in nothing but wooly running shorts after consuming 2 lbs. of collards, 1/8 lb. of garlic, 1/4 lb. lindberger, and sucked the yolk out of 3.5 robin's eggs. That's about as close as I can imagine it, but even then, I think it falls short of the vulgarity that the taste these jelly beans possess.

I'd rather have a carby-filled roast reef sandwich than these, any day. Ugh...

Posted by Jeffrey at 12:48 PM | Comments (0)