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Old Blog Posts April 28, 2006

Subject Book Review: Monster Island
Posted Date: April 28, 2006 – Friday – 5:49 AM
The internet has been great for undiscovered authors. You can actually get your book read before every having a publisher. David Wellington did this with his book Monster Island. He released the book for free online. Once people had read it and like it he got himself a publisher. We’re the DIY generation! I can see a time when publishers aren’t even needed…

Anyway, the novel is awesome. It’s set a couple of months after zombies have taken over the world. Only a couple of pockets of civilazation are left, mostly in the un-civilized sections of the world, like Somalia. A group of people go to NYC to find anti-AIDs drugs for the Queen of Somalia. They discover a group of survivors, plus a zombie that can still think (he was a doctor who kept his brain alive through the zombie-fication process). Once the mummies and the druid priest get involved, well, things get crazy.

Anybody who loves zombie movies should check this book out.link.

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Subject RIP, Anna
Posted Date: April 27, 2006 – Thursday – 12:49 PM
Sad. Look at all the comments.

Anna was a 17 year old girl from Vancover, WA.
She attended Fort Vancover Highschool and was going to graduating this June,2006. Thursday, April 20th 2006 in the evening she was stabbed and murdered at Mcdonalds while working.

Her Myspace

Happy belated B-day, Anna.

(thanks for the tip, bro.)
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Subject Chaos Theory – Noise to Signal
Posted Date: April 27, 2006 – Thursday – 12:16 PM
Ever get the feeling that things just happen randomly? Ever get the feeling that things happen for a reason? Well, me too, on both counts. I was going to write about fractals, but then I found this great summary of Chaos Theory. (The landing page is here, but check out the “Brief Introduction” linked to above) The article is better than anything I could have written; you should check it out if you’ve ever wondered why galaxies look like Nautilus shells, or why veins in leaves look a lot like tree branches.

Do you know how long the coast of England is? Chaos theory tells us it’s virtually infinite, in fact. Different dimensions had to be discovered in order to describe things like weather and coastlines.

Long term weather prediction is impossible, even with the best computers we can imagine. But weather is also highly organized, in that seasons always follow seasons, it..’s usually colder and night than during the day, it rains more in the spring than in the summer. etc etc. This lack of predictability, even in a repetitive (recursive) system, is exactly what Chaos Theory is about.

If that article makes you want to learn more, I highly recommend a book called Chaos: Making a New Science, by James Gleick. You can get it for 5 bucks or so used on Amazon, and it’s well worth it.
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Subject New Job!
Posted Date: April 25, 2006 – Tuesday – 9:08 AM
I’m stoked. I’ve been looking for a job for a little while now; let’s just say that certain “instabilities” in my current work environment led me to seek employment elsewhere.

At about the same time, somebody I used to work with let me know about a job opening at her work. I went in and interviewed; In fact, I interviewed with pretty much everyone in the company! This was pretty daunting, but I actually appreciated it. As an employee I’ll know that they value every person’s opinion, and that’s important to me.

It’s a small, health care web services company…less than 20 people total. I won’t give the name, as I’ve read about people having trouble after identifying themselves with their company in a blog. I’d like my blog to remain as free as possible, so no exact information (you can email me if you’re curious). The gave me very close to salary I was hoping for; plus about twice as many “stock options” as I expected. Sweet!

Anway, just thought I’d share. For those in the Seattle area, get ready for a “Calvin got a new job” party on May 12th. I’m thinking bonfire at Golden Gardens. Sangria!

cl
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Subject New Job!
Posted Date: April 25, 2006 – Tuesday – 9:08 AM
I’m stoked. I’ve been looking for a job a little while now; let’s just say that certain “instabilities” in my current work environment led me to seek employment elsewhere.

At about the same time, somebody I used to work with let me know about a job opening at her work. I went in and interviewed; In fact, I interviewed with pretty much everyone in the company! This was pretty daunting, but I actually appreciated it. As an employee I’ll know that they value every person’s opinion, and that’s important to me.

It’s a small, health care web services company…less than 20 people total. I won’t give the name, as I’ve read about people having trouble after identifying themselves with their company in a blog. I’d like my blog to remain as free as possible, so no exact information (you can email me if you’re curious). The gave me very close to salary I was hoping for; plus about twice as many “stock options” as I expected. Sweet!

Anway, just thought I’d share. For those in the Seattle area, get ready for a “Calvin got a new job” party on May 12th. I’m thinking bonfire at Golden Gardens. Sangria!

cl
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Subject Modern Improv: A Best Buy “Happening”
Posted Date: May 5, 2006 – Friday – 12:09 PM
The internet is allowing people to easily organize in ways rarely or never seen before. “Improv Everywhere” is one such group, using this awesome organizational power to, well, play subversive pranks.

They got a group of people to put on royal blue shirts with dress pants; go to Best Buy, and be helpful if anyone asked for assistance. Like 80 freakin’ people! Lower level employees thought it was funny, while higher level ones freaked out. Ahh, now that’s happening, dude!

You’re seeing this sort of thing more and more; like the Toronto Zombie Walk, which didn’t really have a point either, but was funny. Or the live PacMan game in NYC. Good stuff, and we’re still just playing around.

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Subject Patent War Heats Up
Posted Date: May 4, 2006 – Thursday – 4:39 PM
Research In Motion launches a counterattack in the latest patents battle. RIM makes those popular wireless email devices for geeks, business men, and the occasional hipster. They recently had to settle with another company for over $600 million regarding a different set of patents. Now I guess they’ve decided to go on the offensive.

Our patent laws are so screwed up, the only reason we still have progress is due to a cold war. Even Microsoft wants to weaken patent law. Only Patent trolls are making out OK, and that’s not a good thing.
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Subject Pat Robertson is the Antichrist
Posted Date: May 2, 2006 – Tuesday – 3:59 PM
OK, I just got a custom advertisement from MySpace advertising Regent University, the Christian college founded by Pat Robertson. Just because Jesus is my friend and I have theological discussions via email does not mean I’m down with this dude, or with organized religion in general. Because I’m not, and for good reason.
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Subject Do you know what “State-Secrets Privilege” is?
Posted Date: May 1, 2006 – Monday – 1:29 PM
The first time I became aware of “state-secrets privilege” was when the civil suits regarding certain”interrogations” were thrown out last year.

To quote the Seattle Times article on the subject
“The Supreme Court ruled that the executive branch could assert a secrets privilege when ‘there is a reasonable danger that compulsion of the evidence will expose military matters which … should not be divulged.'”

“The government is invoking the privilege in an attempt to wipe out the heart of a lawsuit that seeks to examine rendition, the secretive and controversial practice of sending terror suspects to foreign countries where they might be tortured.” (March 6, 2005).

IE: our military-industrial complex used it to cover it’s ass when after being caught violating the freakin’ Geneva Convention. Great.

This concept got it’s first major tech exposure in the Wired article regarding a patent that was denied using the same power. This patent was for a new type of fastener. AT&T ended up using it in a government project, then refused to pay the patent holders, citing government secrecy! The suit the inventor brought was then thrown out, citing “state-secrets privilege”.

IE: A big company used it to welch on a deal with an inventor. It’s fine for AT&T to make a buck on this, but not you or me, we just pay for it.

Now it’s back, ladies and gentleman, and the EFF is right in the thick of things. Oh yeah, and so is AT&T.

IE: Our Executive Branch is using “state-secrets privilege” to get away with violating the Constitution.

Nice…good job, Supreme Court; obviously our government is mature enough to handle power like that!

cl

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Subject Web 2.0 and kewl Data Constelations
Posted Date: April 28, 2006 – Friday – 1:02 PM
Here is an excellent article on MySpace and YouTube. Both sites have been breaking growth records; the author’s opinion is that they’re popular because they’re easy to use and don’t tell you what to do.

Hmmm…he may have a point there. Although both sites could use some improvements in both areas, I think. Why all the malformed css crap, MySpace?

I have a good idea! How ’bout giving us a Data Constellation viewer for our relationship to all our friends, and to their friends. That would be cool!

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