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Thu, Mar. 17th, 2011, 08:15 am
Obligatory nod to St. Patrick's Day

Mon, Feb. 7th, 2011, 06:32 pm
Writer's Block: Everything's coming up rabbits

What sign were you born under in the Chinese lunar calendar? Do you think it accurately represents your animal spirit?

I wanna know when we get a Year of The Tribble.

Fri, Feb. 4th, 2011, 11:13 am
FRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII d a y and not a moment too soon

Sample of my Inner Dialogue ™ ...

Where are my scissors?!?!?
Oh there they are...
They were right where they're supposed to be; no wonder I couldn't find them.

Thu, Feb. 3rd, 2011, 12:09 pm
Cultural reinforcement and health care cost

Below is a letter from an Emergency Room physician discussing the cultural foundations of the current situation vis a vis the cost of health care.

Dear Mr. President:
During my shift in the Emergency Room last night, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient whose smile revealed an expensive shiny gold tooth, whose body was adorned with a wide assortment of elaborate and costly tattoos, who wore a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and who chatted on a new cellular telephone equipped with a popular R&B ringtone.
While glancing over her patient chart, I happened to notice that her payer status was listed as "Medicaid"! During my examination of her, the patient informed me that she smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and somehow still has money to buy pretzels and beer.
And, you and our Congress expect me to pay for this woman's health care? I contend that our nation's "health care crisis" is not the result of a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. Rather, it is the result of a "crisis of culture", a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on luxuries and vices while refusing to take care of one's self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance. It is a culture based in the irresponsible credo that "I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me".
Once you fix this "culture crisis" that rewards irresponsibility and dependency, you'll be amazed at how quickly our nation's health care difficulties will disappear.
Respectfully,

STARNER JONES, MD

[ed. note - Quoted in the comments section at the end of this TownHall.com article on the health care brouhaha]

Tue, Feb. 1st, 2011, 04:27 pm
Repealing "Obamacare"

My fellow Floridans! Please take a few moments to correspond with your United States Senators in regards to the Senate taking up the issue of legislation concordant with the bill just passed by the House to repeal The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, alias "Obamacare". Contact information is below:

Florida's US Senate delegation

For those of you unfortunate enough not to reside in The Mouse State, your Senators may be found here:

US Senators

Mon, Jan. 24th, 2011, 10:15 am
Monday Morning hotel lobby timekilling

Rules: Bold all of the following TV shows which you’ve ever seen 10 or more episodes of in your lifetime. Italicize a show if you’re positive you’ve seen every episode of it.

Exhaustive list of TV showsCollapse )

Mon, Jan. 3rd, 2011, 10:00 am
PalmTX to DroidX migration

Since suemac has dragged me screaming and kicking into the smartphone era, my beloved PalmTX has now been displaced by shinynew, fully supported, tech - a Droid X. Bye bye Sprint, hello Verizon (but that's another story for another time; now where was I? Oh yes..).

Time to start replacing my Palm apps with Android apps:


  • DateBk5 - Possibly Pimlical, possibly something else - suemac wants us to be able to sync our multiple calendars and make entries on each others' so we won't lose track of stuff so easily
  • MyBible - Laridian says they'll be coming out with PocketBible for Android before too long. 'til then I'll just use The Online Bible Gateway, or scare up a (how quaint!) printed Bible.
  • MathU (RPN calc emulator) - Droid48 suits admirably, though I think I'd like an HP-11c emulator better
  • MobiPocket - Got to try out some of the available Palm-compatible ebook readers and see which one I like
  • Guitar tuner
  • Chord database
  • Moon phases
  • Various ham radio utilities
  • Shopping list manager - suemac is suggesting we try RememberTheMilk


More on this later...

Mon, Jan. 3rd, 2011, 08:03 am
Here We Go Again

Here comes another year at the office... wonder how many emails stacked up in the 2 weeks I was off? Yikes.

Fri, Dec. 10th, 2010, 10:43 pm
WorkPad Z50 progress

Hot diggity. NetBSD is installing on the Z50! Had to move the RAM from the shiny better shape new one to the scratched up older one 'cause the newer one has some bent pins in the CF socket and I don't feel like taking it apart right now.

Fri, Dec. 10th, 2010, 04:40 pm
Advanced geekery of the ittybitty

So I've been on a roll lately. In the last few months I've really fleshed out my itty bitty and obsolete computers collection. From before, I've had:

  • Sharp Zaurus SL-5500 - I guess you could argue that this doesn't really belong in the list, but it was always more of a itsybitsy computer than a PDA. Alas, the software community abandoned this first-edition hardware after the clamshell versions appeared.
  • Tandy 100, Tandy 102, NEC 8201x - The ModelT computers set the stage for the whole laptop revolution. I remember the first time I saw one, in a freshman compsci class at Arizona State; the guy told me he'd hacked it by putting dental rubber bands (like you had to wear on your braces and shot at your friends across the classroom) under the keycaps to quiet the clicky noises so he could take notes in class. I've used my 102 for several years now for logging during Field Day. I recently picked up a second one with a cleaner case and better keyboard.
  • HP OmniBook 300" - If my example had a battery pack that would hold a charge, this little guy would get a LOT of use. It was one of the first 386-class subnotebooks on the market. It had a really quirky mouse-like pointer attached, and a pretty decent screen for its size and era.
  • Poqet PC - This was a truly groundbreaking gizmo - a full-up PC clone in a package about the size of a VHS videocasette. It ran MS-DOS 3.3 from ROM and had insane battery life, but was hard to read and hard to type on (at least for my big fingers). Still, it's a major crop of geek points for those who keep score on such matters.
  • Zeos Contenda subnotebook - I bought this accidentally, thinking I was snagging a Zeos Pocket PC (see next entry). Oops. Aside from the screen hinges not being stiff enough to hold it open, it's in very good shape, and came with the power supply and a 3-1/2" external floppy drive. Someday I'll have to find something to do with it.
  • Zeos Pocket PC - a step up from the Poqet, this one is a bit bigger, with a somewhat nicer keyboard and MS-DOS 5 in ROM. It can also be induced with some work to boot off a PCMCIA RAM card or FLASH card, so DOS 6.22 is a possibility.


New or at least fairly recent acquisitions include:

  • Zipit Z2 Wireless Messenger - a whole community has sprung up around this ridiculously affordable little ARM based linux palmtop. I'm gonna buy a stack of 'em at $10 each just to have on hand, give out as stocking stuffers, whatever... VERY cool gizmo.
  • IBM WorkPad Z50 - actually have two of 'em, one with 48MB, which will get NetBSD, one 16MB which I'll likely sell.


I expect I'll be spending a fair amount of time playing with these latter two widgets. The Z2 especially looks like it'll be a whole new breed of fun, though any sincere hardware hacking is gonna require an illuminated magnifier!

Once I get NetBSD on it I'm hoping the WorkPad Z50 will become my "goto" carry-around portable for vacations and portable hamming. It's got a great keyboard and a pretty decent color screen, combined with VERY respectable battery life for anything that isn't a ModelT. It's not got as much oomph as a modern day netbook, ARM or Intel, but it's pretty respectable for a $50 machine.

The other bit of impending geekery is that, driven largely by suemac's need for something newer/better/cooler/more reliable than her current, aging Treo 650, we're looking at hopping to Verizon to get some Droids. Further details, highly subjective review-like substances, and pointers to Droid hackery, rootery and geekery will doubtless follow as soon as we dive in. Watch this space!

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