The Core Dump

It updates the blog, or it gets the hose again.

By Nic Lindh | FacebookTwitter

The Core Dump archive by year and month.

See how deep the rabbit hole goes.



Review: Spectre (458 words)

A long-time Bond fan looks at the latest installment in the series and has thoughts.


Book roundup, part 20 (1760 words)

Includes The Antidote, One Nation, Under Gods, Losing the Signal, The Todd Glass Situation, The Last Policeman, The Three-Body Problem, The Dark Forest, Beacon 23, Killing Pretty and Queen of Fire.

Building a static site for an investigative journalism project (949 words)

Things to consider when planning to build a site on a compressed time table.

How to learn things you’re not interested in (413 words)

A simple tip to help you learn things your brain wants nothing to do with.


Yearning for the Cold War (783 words)

The GOP base is searching for a new Evil Empire to fight.

The one sentence rule (170 words)

Nic gets in touch with his inner life coach and offers up a simple rule to find out if an idea is good or not.


Digital hygiene for online security and safety (781 words)

Nic provides some basic not-too-paranoid tips for securing your digital life.

Closing loops (311 words)

It’s not how much you have to do, it’s how many things you’re doing at the same time.

Jade Helm and the fever swamps of patriotism (1519 words)

Did you know the U.S. government is planning to invade Texas? Well, it’s not. Nic attempts to explain.

How to install Jekyll on Amazon Linux (122 words)

Installing Jekyll on an EC2 Amazon Linux AMI is easy. Here are the steps.


Will the Apple Watch be a success? (2073 words)

After wearing the watch for over a month, Nic has thoughts on its future. Spoiler: Depends on how you define success.


Book roundup, part 19 (1555 words)

Lots of fantasy and sci-fi in this installment plus a book about sports! Includes Boy on Ice, Difficult Men, Restaurant Man, The Red Line, Cunning Plans, Seveneves, Nemesis Games, Bitter Seeds, The Mechanical, Angles of Attack, and City of Stairs.


Let’s all chill out about the iPad sales numbers (805 words)

Turns out “it's just a big iPhone” is a stroke of genius.


Tech terms you might be misusing (665 words)

Some technical terms still confuse people who should know better, like journalists.

Book roundup, part 18 (1052 words)

Nic is sad about Terry Pratchett's passing. Includes No Land’s Man, Idiot America, Something Coming Through, The Burning Room, Foxglove Summer, and The Dark Defiles.


BlueBuds X and Jabra Revo Bluetooth headsets review (963 words)

Bluetooth headsets are maturing rapidly and these are both good in their own ways and for different purposes.

Naked root domain with Amazon S3 without using Route 53 (555 words)

How to host a static site on Amazon S3 with an apex domain without using Amazon’s Route 53.

Say hello to Brimful Podcast (312 words)

Nic finally launches his own podcast wherein he explains technology to humans.


Another shot of wet socks against net neutrality (581 words)

The Republic prints another sad editorial about net neutrality. Nic’s regard couldn’t be any lower.

Against net neutrality (412 words)

The Arizona Republic prints a willfully ignorant editorial against net neutrality. It makes Nic unhappy.

As the rage rages in the Tea Party’s rage (532 words)

Nic tries to understand why people choose to live lives of fear and anger.


Death Traps and Fury (1296 words)

Fury is a relentlessly grim World War II movie, and as the source autobiography Death Traps makes clear, it should be.

New technology requires new thinking (653 words)

People fear change, so new technology is used as as a faster version of the old. This makes technologists sad.

An HTML, CSS and JavaScript lesson plan (1344 words)

Nic provides a lesson plan for teaching total beginners HTML, CSS and JavaScript.



Book roundup, part 17 (1156 words)

Things go dark and magical in this installment. Includes So, Anyway…, Yes Please, The Mirror Empire, London Falling, Broken Homes, Perfidia, The Peripheral, Burning Chrome, and the Bel Dame Apocrypha Omnibus.

Introducing the Link Dump (673 words)

Nic moves his link blog where it should have been all along and has thoughts about Web hosting.

Our little sociopathic predator fluffballs (206 words)

Nic ponders our relationship with our cats.

The glanceable wrist in your future (587 words)

Nic loves his Pebble and looks forward to the Apple Watch, but realizes he’s in the minority.


The story we tell ourselves (508 words)

Us humans filter everything we see and experience through our existing narrative. Nic finds this fascinating.

It's the words, stupid (622 words)

Nic loves books, but he loves their content more.

Voting in America (950 words)

The American voting system is stuck in a time warp. It makes Nic sad.


The Kindle Voyage is a solid update with an achilles heel (543 words)

Should you upgrade to Amazon’s latest e-ink reader? Nic gives it a reluctant and somewhat perplexed nod.

Our technology is bad and we should feel bad (819 words)

Nic is worried about the fragile state of our technology and thinks you should be as well.

Book roundup, part 16 (1396 words)

Lots of good reads in this installment. Includes All Hell Let Loose, Metallica: This Monster Lives, 10% Happier, Onward, Echopraxia, Cibola Burn, The Getaway God, Lock In, The Red: First Light, Terms of Enlistment, and Lines of Departure.


The WATCH is nigh, and I don't get it (414 words)

Nic tries to understand the WATCH. It doesn't go well.

Apple might enter the home integration field (259 words)

Nic thinks home integration could be Apple’s next major category. Read on to find out why.


An Apple ebook reader would be nice (514 words)

Nic is frustrated with his Kindle and would love to see Apple make an e-ink reader.

Flashing a Gigabyte BIOS should be easier than this (394 words)

Once again user-interface ineptitude and Internet idiots make things harder than they have to be.

Red immigration meat in the Arizona primaries (1171 words)

There are ways to fix the illegal immigration problem. They don’t involve yelling at children in buses. Nic explains.


Book roundup, part 15 (1060 words)

Solid reads abound in this installment of the roundup. Includes Console Wars, Your Inner Fish, Flash Boys, Digital Wars, The Perfect Storm, Tower Lord, By Blood We Live, I am Pilgrim and Lexicon.

The rumored iWatch won’t be what you think (517 words)

Why whatever Apple is about to release will not be anything like the Pebble or Android Wear.


After the empire fades (518 words)

Game of Thrones and The First Law Trilogy illustrate the different ways England and America are dealing with fading empires.

Happy midsummer! (268 words)

Nic is homesick on Midsummer’s Eve.

Damnatio memoriae (501 words)

We should forget the names of our mass murderers.


Movie roundup, part 22 (684 words)

Movie time, kids! Includes an excellent documentary and a lot of not-great movies. Includes Sorcerer, Generation Iron, Restrepo, The Numbers Station, Pacific Rim and 300: Rise of an Empire.

White privilege in extremism (376 words)

It’s way easier to be an extremist in America if you’re white.

Further to the right (436 words)

The idea that both the left and the right in America are getting more extreme is false. Nic explains why.


Enter the rumble roller (329 words)

Get medieval on your fascia.

Review: The Pet Shop Boys Electric tour hits Phoenix (437 words)

Hey, you like lasers? We have lasers!

Book roundup, part 14 (1683 words)

Some great reads and a huge disappointment in this installment. Includes The Loudest Voice in the Room, Hatching Twitter, Dogfight, Ancillary Justice, KOP Killer, The Circle, Working God’s Mischief and Where Eagles Dare.


Desert rose (76 words)

Flowering cactuses are a beautiful sight.

New York City trip report (806 words)

The Lindh family visits the Big Apple and it is good.

We all have our limit (391 words)

You meet interesting people at the Apple Store. And everybody has a limit.


Protecting straight people (655 words)

The Arizona state legislature is busy protecting the freedoms of the already protected.

Tiny victories (552 words)

Nic practices yoga. It doesn’t go well.

The Mac, homegrown (1553 words)

Nic delves into the shady computer enthusiast underworld of the Hackintosh.


My first Mac (603 words)

On the Mac’s 30th anniversary, Nic reminisces about his first.

How to privatize a public good (261 words)

The standard right-wing approach to privatizing public goods like education and health care.

The iPhone, devourer of technologies (380 words)

The iPhone was announced Jan. 9, 2007. It now occupies a huge chunk of Nic’s life



Meet Helios the cat (481 words)

It’s Caturday. Nic introduces one of his cats.

Movie roundup, part 21 (1660 words)

Nic watches movies. Some are good and some are terrible. Includes Star Trek: Into Darkness, Dredd, Oblivion, Django Unchained, Hungry for Change, Bullet to the Head, Hansel and Gretel, Act of Valor, The Queen of Versailles, Indie Game: The Movie, and The Other F Word.

Book roundup, part 13 (788 words)

Some solid reading awaits you in this installment. Includes The Outpost, Masters of Doom, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, The Everything Store, Bomber Command, Gods of Guilt, and Low Town.

Some good podcasts (1098 words)

Nic loves podcasts. Here are some recommendations.


2013 National Novel Writing Month (1560 words)

Nic types 50,000 words in a month. He’s tired now.

Blaming the victims (299 words)

The Arizona Republic editorial board thinks the young ’uns are lazy.

The A7 processor is your friend (882 words)

Nic is very impressed with the speed of the iPhone 5S and iPad Air.


50,000 words or bust (120 words)

Nic is wicked excited to take part in National Novel Writing Month.

Communists in the House of Representatives (412 words)

If things are in balance, there should be Marxists.

What the hell were they thinking? (906 words)

Nic tries to understand the Tea Party. Predictably, it doesn't go well.

The Core Dump is 10 years old! (632 words)

Nic ruminates on the changes ten years have wrought.

Finding a theme for your site (531 words)

Nic tells you how to find a theme for your new site.


A fresh coat of paint (426 words)

Nic gives the site a face lift and sings the praises of Bootstrap 3.

There shall be airflow! (338 words)

Nic cleans out the firebox on his Kamado grill.

Trouble in Nexus 7 land (502 words)

Nic encrypts his 2013 Nexus 7 and bad things happen.


Captain Incoherent goes shopping (215 words)

A tired Nic makes an ass of himself at a grocery store.

Book roundup, part twelve (1086 words)

A slimmer-than-usual book roundup is heavy on the non-fiction, including several must-read titles.

The 2013 Nexus 7 (1477 words)

Nic buys a Nexus 7 to test the Android waters.


Rejoice, peasants (236 words)

Nic is exasperated by the mania surrounding the birth of a child.

A diary of Swedish weather (1029 words)

Nic ransacks his memories to recount a year of Swedish weather.


Cloudy with a chance of broken (344 words)

All Nic wants for WWDC is sync that actually works

Book roundup, part eleven (1127 words)

Another book roundup, including some stellar athletes and soldiers, what might be the most jaded, soul-weary protagonist ever, and some grimdark fantasy.

Paywalls and tinfoil hats (802 words)

The Internet is getting creepy, and Nic is breaking out his tinfoil hat after newspaper paywalls push him over the edge.


OK then, Mr. Gekko (428 words)

Nic is tired of tech sites obsessing over Apple’s financials and business strategy. So very tired.

Read this book: Salt Sugar Fat (687 words)

Nic reads a book about the processed food industry and is incensed.


The cargo cult of technology (388 words)

Computers are complicated. This brings out the irrational in people.

Seen a Rechthaberei lately? (315 words)

Nic proposes the loan word Rechthaberei be incorporated into American English.


Book roundup, part ten (1009 words)

The Core Dump is back! Books were read during the hiatus. Includes The Coldest Winter, Oh, Myyy!, Tough Sh*t, The Revolution Was Televised, The Rook, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, Gun Machine, Fortress Frontier, Standing in Another Man’s Grave, and The Memory of Light.


The Core Dump is hibernating (20 words)

This site will return in February.



Book roundup, part nine (813 words)

From a true patriot to a world-weary detective, a dead god, and a civilization about to sublime from the galaxy, this book roundup spans the gamut. Includes Where Men Win Glory, Wild, Inside the Box, The Black Box, Three Parts Dead, Red Country, and The Hydrogen Sonata.

Ode to joy (423 words)

Springsteen gives a concert in Phoenix. It’s fantastic.


Humungus’s Volvo tractor (103 words)

A Swedish redneck discovers the joy of putting a Volvo engine into an old tractor as Mad Max smiles.

Thanksgiving, the reboot (354 words)

Nic loves Thanksgiving but, seriously, the bird’s got to go.

Size matters: The iPad mini is its own experience (514 words)

Nic has spent quality time with the iPad mini and wants to share his opinion. Because there clearly aren't enough iPad reviews on the Internet.

Uncomfortably numb (212 words)

Nic is oh so very tired after the election.


Smoking spareribs on the Kamado (258 words)

Nic levels up on the grill by smoking spareribs on his Kamado. Tasty, tasty ribs.

Arizona 2012 ballot proposition rundown (694 words)

Nic provides a rundown of the 2012 Arizona ballot propositions with recommendations on how you should vote.

Kindle Paperlight: Amazon giveth and Amazon taketh away (703 words)

Nic is ecstatic about the backlighting on the Kindle Paperlight, but Amazon has made some strange design decisions and there’s a display hardware flaw.

Movie roundup, part 20 (868 words)

Nic watches movies again. Included are Moon, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Avengers, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Coriolanus, The Grey and Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows. Nic is mostly unimpressed.

Lying as a rational strategy (224 words)

Nic is sad after the first presidential debate of 2012 and explains why lying makes sense for the candidates at this point.


Book roundup, part eight (874 words)

From the heights of athletic excellence to the depths of depravity, this roundup includes The First 20 Minutes, Double Cross, The Heroin Diaries, Tattoos and Tequila, Dodger, Farthing, and Devil Said Bang.

Ebook creation is still a bag of hurt (1028 words)

Nic makes a new ebook and is dismayed by the sad state of ebook publishing.

Caturday Pinup: Phoebe (334 words)

Nic hears there’s a lack of cat pictures on the Internet and decides to help out by posting a picture of his cat Phoebe.

Noises in my head: Four midrange headphones reviewed (1140 words)

Nic reviews four sets of midrange headphones. They all meet with approval.


Two Americas, one good one bad (395 words)

Nic immigrated to an America that looks to the future and uses science and engineering to make the world as great as possible. And then there's another America.

“Legacy Service End of Life” (333 words)

Joyent decides to screw over its VC customers and handles it poorly to say the least.

Book roundup, part seven (1230 words)

Includes Wabi-Sabi, Making Things Happen, D-Day, Tallula Rising, Blood Song, The Americans and Amped. All in all, a happy romp through the meadows of literature.


4th of July barbecue (236 words)

The great soft box in the sky hovered over Phoenix on the 4th of July, so it was time for some barbecue photography.

What your email address says about you (285 words)

One of the equivalences of haircut and clothing on the Internet is your email address.


The Beach Principle of productivity (248 words)

Fiddliness be gone! Nic simplifies things.

Book roundup, part six (958 words)

Includes Search Inside Yourself, The Information Diet, Redshirts, The Gone-Away World, Wool, Leviathan Wakes, and Prince of Thorns. One of these may very well change your life.

La Jolla trip (1192 words)

The Lindhs go to La Jolla on vacation. It's pretty great.


Movie roundup, part 19 (1478 words)

Nic watches movies. Included are Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Haywire, Underworld: Awakening, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, The Lincoln Lawyer, The Guns of Navarone and Immortals. Several of these movies are bad but only one made Nic turn it off.

The core is weak (940 words)

Nic discovers yoga/Pilates is a great antidote to middle-age decrepitude.

Book roundup, part five (1277 words)

Includes Shadow Ops: Control Point, The Night Circus, The Hunger Games, Quiet, The Science of Yoga, and Kitchen Confidential. Lots of good stuff in this one.


Sweet, sweet BBQ (332 words)

Nic loves his Kamado grill so much he makes a video about grilling on it.

Enter the Kamado (914 words)

Nic buys a Kamado grill and wants to share his joy with the world.

The new iPad: Dat screen (586 words)

After a few weeks of heavy usage, Nic shares his feelings about the new iPad.


Book roundup, part four (1152 words)

Includes Angelmaker, The Magicians, Magician King, Iron Council, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Distrust That Particular Flavor, and Talking to Girls About Duran Duran. One of these is the most important book of 2011.

I fink they freeky (352 words)

South African white trash art collective Die Antwoord creates catchy tunes.

A good kind of hungry (347 words)

Eating a low-carb diet changes how your hunger feels.


Rural Arizona 2012 Decay Tour (551 words)

Pictures of hard times and decay in rural Arizona.

Exercise for the middle-aged fat guy (1327 words)

An exhortation to exercise for my fellow middle-aged fat guys.

Photo safari to Cleator and Watson Lake (337 words)

Nic is dragged along on a photo safari to rural Arizona.


Book roundup, part three (1167 words)

Includes The Drop, Ready Player One, Moon Called, Among Others, Excession, Inferno, The Paleo Solution and I am Ozzy.

Review: Blue HR heart rate monitor strap (557 words)

If you have an iPhone 4S, the Blue HR is a solid device.

Movie roundup, part 18 (862 words)

Nic watches movies. Included are Contagion, Drive, Conan the Barbarian, Fast Five, Hanna, Priest and Bridesmaids. Can you guess which one Nic hated?



The dragon flies at night (504 words)

It’s 1989. Nic moves to Louisiana and discovers there’s such a thing as black culture.

O Tannenbaum (94 words)

Christmas is behind us and it’s time to get back in the saddle.

Merry Christmas! (223 words)

It’s once again the winter solstice. It’s time to sit back and relax.

Clouds over a CostCo parking lot (80 words)

Arizona experiences winter rain storms and Nic commits photography.

On outsourcing comments to Facebook (1008 words)

Nic outlines some of the risks of ceding comments on news stories to Facebook.

Fixing technology education in K12 (767 words)

Students aren’t being taught how to use computers. Nic offers suggestions to fix a broken system.


Book roundup, part two (972 words)

Includes Sandman Slim, Snuff, The Cold Commands, Reamde, Goodbye Darkness, Steve Jobs and The Psychopath Test.

More contrast, please (270 words)

Nic is frustrated by a design choice for a JBL remote.

Cain and the Democratic conspiracy (320 words)

The harrassment charges against Cain and the sad kabuki theater of the Republican nominations.


The shibboleth of style (742 words)

Nic is not pleased with the AP stylebook.

Thank you, Steve Jobs (71 words)

We have lost a visionary.

Kindle 4 first impressions (1013 words)

Nic buys a new Kindle and tells you what he thinks about it. Read and find out if you should buy one.


Editing the hosts file in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion (391 words)

If you’re trying to edit your hosts file in Lion, here’s why it’s not working and how to fix it.

Why I’m all-in on FiveFingers (1373 words)

Nic loves his freaky clown shoes. This post explains why.

Blade Runner keyboard (118 words)

Nic really can’t understand how his keyboard gets so dirty.

Do not wake up (78 words)

Nic’s daughter isn’t what you’d call a morning person.

Book roundup, part one (1576 words)

Some books you might enjoy reading.

Even better burgers (234 words)

Nic’s dad shows him how to make even better burgers and he shares his newfound knowledge.

Death by PowerPoint (810 words)

Endless, pointless presentations are a drag on corporate worker sanity. There is a better way.

The long democracy (903 words)

Campaign season is gearing up in America and Nic has some thoughts on the endless primaries ahead.


Sports journalism is hurting democracy (584 words)

Political news coverage in America tends to be abysmal. Nic explores why.

Lion and the angst of the greybeards (1485 words)

Nic is bemused by the sturm und drang surrounding the iOS-ification of Mac OS X.

Web publishing made easy (741 words)

Web publishing used to require heavy-duty nerditry, but no longer.

How to create an e-book (1316 words)

Nic is creating an e-book. He shares what he’s learned so far.


The monster of Norway (296 words)

The horrific events in Norway hit home for Nic.

Breaking the social back (420 words)

Nic overanalyzes things again. He has no idea what to do with Google Plus.

The end of the artifact (477 words)

Spotify is finally open for U.S. customers. Nic is ridiculously excited.

Why We Get Fat (697 words)

Nic reads a life-changing book on nutrition and wants to share it with you.


Productivity for people who don’t have ADD (1362 words)

Nic thinks a lot about productivity and shares some books that have helped him.

Gaze of the Predator (88 words)

Nic attempts to reinvigorate the tradition of posting cat pictures on Fridays.


Movie roundup, part 17 (1242 words)

Nic watches movies. They mostly suck. Included are I am Number Four, Jonah Hex, Doctor Zhivago, Valhalla Rising, Bronson, Centurion and Resident Evil: Afterlife.

Phoenix ComiCon impressions (825 words)

Nic takes his daughter to go nerd watching at the Phoenix ComiCon.

Happy ninth birthday, Andrea! (60 words)

Our daughter turns nine years old today.

Westward Ho (119 words)

Threatening skies over the Westward Ho in downtown Phoenix.

Some good podcasts for you (965 words)

Nic listens to a lot of podcasts on his commute. He hopes some of them might make you happy.

Closer to the metal (504 words)

Nic switches from WordPress to Jekyll. He’s excited. Everybody else is bored to tears.


Something in the water: 10 years of the Apple Store (1544 words)

Nic talks about the early days of the Apple Store and how it came damn close to killing him.

FiveFingers help chronic compartment syndrome (653 words)

Nic finds that Vibram FiveFingers help with his chronic compartment syndrome. This makes him happy.


Twitter is not your free advertising (577 words)

Nic gets his panties all in a bunch about how some people are using Twitter as an ad-hoc means of getting free advertising.

Review: Griftopia (365 words)

Matt Taibbi’s Griftopia is an important book, and it will make you angry enough to froth at the mouth.

Review: The Heroes (357 words)

The Heroes is an intense, wild ride into a maelstrom of violence, brutality and flawed human beings. You should read it.


Slick, very slick (59 words)

Comment spammers aren’t just leeches and the scum of the Earth. They are also bad at using computers.

Slowing down the news (416 words)

Nic explains why you don’t need "live on the scene with action news" and why it’s so compelling anyway.

Kinda I want to (593 words)

Nic discovers Nine Inch Nails as a broke student with an IROC-Z in Louisiana. He still loves Pretty Hate Machine.


A panegyric to e-book readers (603 words)

Nic really digs e-book readers. No, seriously, he really digs them. And you should, too.

Your computer is becoming an appliance. Deal. (579 words)

The future and now of personal computing is appliances. This post parses why you shouldn’t worry about it.

Video on the Web: Your HTML5 won’t save you now (1190 words)

Grab a hankie and a strong drink to help you through this discussion of the pain that awaits you if you want to put video on the Web.

Frosty the windshield (192 words)

There’s frost on the car windows in Phoenix. Confusion ensues.



An illustrated beginner’s guide to the IKEA food market (584 words)

Have you ever wondered what all that weird stuff is in the IKEA Swedish food market? Here’s a short primer to some of the best stuff.

You are the product (280 words)

There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Enjoy a depressing explanation of why you are the thing being sold.


Learning English from the Boss (481 words)

Thinking back on growing up in Sweden and the mysteries of Springsteen’s lyrics.

The dishwasher of doom (293 words)

How our dishwasher almost burned down our house. More drama than I’m used to on a Sunday morning.


The Arizona Republic finds a "haunted library" (379 words)

The newspaper of record for America’s fifth-largest metro area puts a story about a haunted house as the top item for its Valley & State section. Nic finds it hard to control his disgust and anger. Kind of like a vengeful ghost.

We read, we screed (332 words)

Nic tilts at windmills about readability on the Web.

Movie roundup, part 16 (756 words)

In the 16th installment of movie roundup: Robin Hood, War Photographer, Bigger, Stronger, Faster, Hot Tub Time Machine, Beer Wars, Gallipoli, My Life in Ruins and Enlighten Up!

Review: Zero History (246 words)

William Gibson is back in the unevenly distributed future with Zero History.


Why are my IT people such douchebags? (574 words)

An explanation for the perennial questions asked by cubicle workers around the world: Why are my IT people such dicks? Why won’t they let me install whatever software I want?

Thieving bastards stole my image (269 words)

Being ripped off is no fun, even when it’s just a harmless image on a blog nobody reads. Feel the rage!

Building a news site with WordPress (1387 words)

Longish post on the creation of Cronkite News and building it in WordPress. Mostly of interest to Web nerds.

Your own nuclear reactor (202 words)

Does your phone have to alert you every time somebody has a bowel movement? I posit that no, it sure doesn’t.

The inner rage of nerds (645 words)

It’s easy to become disheartened with the state of technology punditry. This post examines why and suggests a quick fix that, if implemented, would improve the state of tech journalism on the Internet by about a million percent.


An e-mail management system that works (480 words)

E-mail is a blessing and a curse. After many years of trying, I believe I’ve found a system that brings sanity back to my inbox.

Movie roundup, part 15 (1506 words)

In this installment of movie roundup: Inglourious Basterds, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Rollerball, District 13: Ultimatum, The Brotherhood of the Wolf, Miracle, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Crazy Heart, Sherlock Holmes, Crimson Rivers, Crimson Rivers 2: Angels of the Apocalypse, Up in the Air, Zombieland and From Russia With Love.


Review: The Road (281 words)

Nic reviews Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.

Review: The Big Short (207 words)

Nic reviews Michael Lewis’s The Big Short. He likes it.

Soccer and the tyranny of the score (657 words)

Nic explores why America’s attitude to soccer has a lot to do with the things wrong with America.


The iPad, as the dust settles (1358 words)

With all the sturm-und-drang about the iPad turning us all into slobbering idiots, Nic thought it might be a good idea to talk about what it’s actually like to use one.

Adios, GoDaddy (235 words)

Fed up with endless upsells and sexist marketing, Nic leaves GoDaddy behind.

I have reached hamburger nerdvana (407 words)

Nic grills the perfect hamburger and shows you how to do the same.


Does lemon juice tenderize meat? (315 words)

Nic goes all MythBusters on the idea that lemon juice tenderizes meat.

Review: The Steel Remains (256 words)

The Steel Remains is a stunning reboot of dark fantasy.

We’ve been doing it wrong (894 words)

The iPad is finally out and Nic is wicked excited.


The Finger Of St John The Baptist And Other Seo Annoyances (632 words)

Few things are as annoying as the braying of SEO sheep. This post explains why.

Dad is older than the glaciers (57 words)

Having a child reminds you of your mortality in more ways than one.

The future: Now with more iPad (342 words)

Nic pre-orders an iPad and is giddy with excitement.

The car must be blue (553 words)

Policy must support the vision you have for society—it's a means to an end, not the end itself.


Movie roundup, part 14 (595 words)

In this movie roundup: There Will Be Blood, Up, Objectified, Helvetica, District 9, Coraline, The Hangover, The Golden Compass and The Gamer. Lots of definite articles.

The salting of the meat (229 words)

Nic goes all Mythbusters on the idea that salting meat tenderizes it.

Googling for the login (579 words)

Tragic hilarity ensues when Google gets things mixed up.

Wishes for iPhone OS 4 (or, Nic has first-world problems) (268 words)

Unsolicited advice for Apple on what they should include in iPhone OS 4.


The iPad: It’s for education (420 words)

Thoughts on the iPad after the announcement.

Review: The City & The City (313 words)

China Miéville can write.

The State of the State (383 words)

A reaction to Governor Brewer’s 2010 state of the state address. Guess who’s not impressed?

Review: Justinian’s Flea (334 words)

This book provides an interesting idea about the final nail in the coffin for the Roman Empire.

Written in blood (100 words)

Sometimes medical professionals frighten Nic.



Naked and sedated (753 words)

Dagnabbit, some idiot does some dumb shit and now everybody’s air travel has to suck even more?

Home of the dollar (461 words)

Having an economy based on housing only is a bad idea. Who knew?

Hummingbird heaven (180 words)

Nic loves the hummingbirds in his backyard.

Morning conversation (56 words)

Nic’s daughter frightens him sometimes.


Review: Klipsch IMAGE S4i headset (442 words)

Solid in-ear headphones with Apple-compatible remote.

New hamburger expertise (159 words)

Nic shows you how to grill up a fantastic burger. Yum.

Review: Anathem (272 words)

An enormously ambitious novel that mostly succeeds.


Cue The Smiths (306 words)

The never-ending drama around dinner time and Nazi parents who make nutritious home-cooked meals.

Movie roundup, part 13 (1018 words)

Nerdcore Rising, Rescue Dawn, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Watchmen, Waltz With Bashir, Defiance and Grand Torino.

Infestation of raggare (276 words)

Nic looks back at one of the menaces of his youth.

Out of Nebraska (71 words)

Springsteen brings the angst of being human like none other.


The New Barbeque Expert (525 words)

Men tend to overcomplicate things, including grilling. Nic breaks down how to do it right.

Review: Drenai Tales (264 words)

A roundup of David Gemmell’s Drenai Tales novels.

Seriously, what the hell? (303 words)

Once again, shrill nutbags get under Nic’s skin.

Review: The Brass Verdict (196 words)

An excellent Mickey Haller novel.

Review: Requiem for an Assassin (193 words)

Mostly for completist John Rain fans.


Not exactly Kerouac (103 words)

Conversations with a second-grader are great.

Review: 1776 (131 words)

Required reading for anybody interested in American history.

Movie roundup, part 12 (591 words)

Includes Kung Fu Panda, The Wrestler, Righteous Kill, The King of Kong, Gangs of New York, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and 30 Days of Night. A bit of a good, bad and ugly.

Apathy and loathing at Dulles (1900 words)

Dulles airport might just be the worst in the world. This post tells you why.

In the stillness (500 words)

Some languid thoughts from a vacationing Nic.


That was easy (142 words)

Nic is delighted with how smooth his trip to Sweden went. In the movie biz they call that foreshadowing.

Louisiana to Missouri, via tow truck (1901 words)

Nic’s first personal experience of driving across America, complete with a breakdown outside a motel in Blythesville, Ark.


Red carpet for the apocalypse (445 words)

Nic is a bit creeped out by survivalists.

The first letter home (217 words)

My daughter visits with her grandparents and sends a letter home.

Review: Terminator Salvation (515 words)

Nic goes to the movies. He is not happy.

Review: Let the Right One In (novel and movie) (663 words)

Both the movie and the novel Let the Right One In kick Nic in the teeth.

Movie roundup, part 11 (1041 words)

Included in this movie round-up are: Tell No One, Harakiri, Babylon A.D., Death Race, Wall-E, Let the Right One In, Hellboy II, Good Night, and Good Luck and Kingdom of Heaven.

Get to the choppa (176 words)

Nic is highly entertained by some very silly metal.

Microsoft and the lemonade stand parable (652 words)

Nic tries his hand at a parable to explain the problem with Microsoft.


Bass for your face (207 words)

Nic likes a pair of headphones.

The British Wallander (426 words)

Kenneth Branagh takes on Swedish detective icon Kurt Wallander. Unfortunately it doesn’t turn out well.

Review: Gang Leader for a Day (203 words)

Very interesting insights into the shadow economy.

Tower of babble (147 words)

Ever wonder why parents always look tired? Here’s a video to explain it.


It’s the sound of inevitability, Mr. Anderson (658 words)

Nic lists the ways the Blu-ray experience is miserable.

Review: Shadow of the Scorpion (232 words)

Very good dark space opera.

One sure thing (176 words)

If you know you’re right, you’re probably not.

A poke in the eye (321 words)

Nic discovers the Blu-ray spec allows studios to not allow resume of a movie. And the studios don’t. Guess how he feels about that?


Boiling point (283 words)

People are waking up to the excesses of the banking system.

Paid back (164 words)

Nic doesn’t need proof he is the father of his child, but he gets it anyway.


Bad film nerd. No money for you (94 words)

It’s time to stop giving George Lucas money.

Zen and meat (313 words)

Nic finds enlightenment in a friend’s nervous breakdown.

Review: American Shaolin (147 words)

Very interesting and funny book about an American who travels to China to become a Shaolin monk.


Movie roundup, part ten (680 words)

In this installment of the movie round-up: Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Iron Man, Payback: The Director’s Cut, Blade Runner: The Final Cut, Doomsday, Maxed Out and The Dark Knight.

A crash course in teaching (959 words)

If you teach, you should read this post.

Your own personal GTD (648 words)

Our brains aren’t built to handle the modern world, but there are ways to deal.

A pixel too far (344 words)

Nic digs Blu-ray transfers of old World War II movies.

Review: Ready for Anything (151 words)

Not as shattering as Getting Things Done, but a worthwhile read.

It’s ... the fuuuuuture (168 words)

The future is distributed to Nic and his idolization of William Gibson grows.

Always be scribbling (159 words)

Newspapers and technology aren’t exactly best friends.

Out with the old (212 words)

Nic discards old technology and thinks about all the money he’s spent.

The airing of grievances (668 words)

Turns out 2008 was kind of a shit sandwich. Who knew?



Ho Ho Ho (76 words)

Merry Christmas from drunken Irishmen.

Review: Making Money (98 words)

Terry Pratchett goes a bit darker than usual.

Why so serious? (205 words)

Nic is not impressed by the MPAA’s rating system but he is impressed by The Dark Knight.


Movie roundup, part nine (557 words)

Includes Quantum of Solace, Control, Live Free or Die Hard, Hitman, Oldboy, and Shoot ’Em Up. Not a bad round-up.

Magic money (203 words)

Nic is not happy with the excesses of the banking system.

Review: The First Law Trilogy (283 words)

It’s like these novels were written for Nic.

Review: The Bloomsday Dead (110 words)

Brings the Dead Trilogy to a close.

Come together (206 words)

Nic is excited about Barack Obama’s election win.


Review: Presentation Zen (197 words)

Required reading for anybody who gives presentations.

The competitive urge (350 words)

Nic is not happy about the state of America today.

Arizona ballot propositions 2008 (549 words)

A run-down of the ballot propositions with suggestions for how you should vote on each of them.

Dub-dub-debate (80 words)

Nic is not happy about the way the presidental election debates are run.

R.I.P. Shiva (97 words)

We lose our oldest cat, Shiva.

I give up (291 words)

The McCain/Palin team make Nic question his sanity.

Go Speedracer! (41 words)

The only thing Nic likes more than the Internet is a wicked fast Internet connection.


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (252 words)

Gritty and violent Swedish crime fiction, just released in the U.S.

The Republican in winter (276 words)

It must be rough to be a Goldwater Republican these days.

To the undecided voter (210 words)

Nic can’t understand how, in the most polarized election in history, anybody can be an undecided voter.

Review: Here Comes Everybody (144 words)

An important book on how technology is changing society.

Get better (118 words)

Merlin Mann on the creative process.

Review: The Name of the Wind (109 words)

Impressive first novel of a planned trilogy.

Review: The Last Colony (111 words)

The weakest novel in John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War Universe.

Review: Spook Country (86 words)

Not William Gibson’s finest moment.

Let them eat swamp water (244 words)

More screwed-up priorities from Republicans.


Boiling it down (119 words)

Wisdom from my great-uncle the farmer.

The cheese and the damage done (295 words)

Nic is not impressed with Who Moved My Cheese.

Review: The Moment It Clicks (160 words)

A must-read for anybody interested in photography.


Review: Thirteen (103 words)

Excellent noir near-future sci-fi. Read it.

Too soon? (118 words)

Apple gets greedy with MobileMe.

Movie roundup, part eight (346 words)

Resident Evil: Extinction, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I am Legend, Battlestar Galactica: Razor, The Kingdom and Revolver.

No diacriticals for you and your yuppie toy! (214 words)

The iPhone keyboard doesn’t support Swedish characters so Nic files a Radar bug.

Review: The Overachievers (205 words)

Deeply disturbing book about the pressures of high-achieving high school students.

Review: Woken Furies (118 words)

The third installment in Richard Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs saga is great.

The solstice (361 words)

Nic talks about the Swedish midsummer tradition. With pictures.


I’ve got the key (131 words)

Nic muses on the blessed stillness of vacation.

On through the night (244 words)

Nic reports on his and his daughter’s flight to Sweden.

Conspicuous consumption (226 words)

Nic and his wife buy a brand-new Acura TL. It’s a beautiful machine.


Review: The Dragon Never Sleeps (168 words)

Glen Cook delivers epic, dense space opera.

Review: Glasshouse (152 words)

Great sci-fi that’s really a meditation on memory.

Review: Cruel Zinc Melodies (71 words)

Disappointing Garrett, P.I. novel.

The Great Pool of Money (37 words)

You should listen to this fantastic podcast which explains the origins of the credit crisis.

Science night (146 words)

Science night at school meets Nic’s immaturity.

Review: The Sociopath Next Door (131 words)

An important book about the hidden menace of sociopaths.

Review: Homicide (149 words)

Excellent non-fiction about homicide squads from one of the creators of The Wire.

New levels of disgust (650 words)

Nic is pissed off about politics, including the perennial favorites the war in Iraq and gas prices.


Random nerditry (331 words)

Idiots hotlink my images. That’s a no-no.

R.I.P. Pompe, 2001 - 008 (164 words)

My parents’ dog passed away.

Review: The Price of Privilege (225 words)

Important book about how pressure from well-meaning parents hurt affluent children.

Holy Docsis, Batman! (166 words)

If your Internet connection isn’t as fast as you’d like, it might be time to upgrade your cable modem.

Review: The Scar (122 words)

The Scar is a great, weird novel, but it makes Nic worry he might be a steampunk.

Review: Everything is Miscellaneous (178 words)

Interesting book, but too much filler and techno-utopianism.

Children of the night (188 words)

Nic’s daughter has a creative understanding of the word "nocturnal."

Review: Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched (65 words)

Great book about a year in the life of animal trainers.


At the car wash (79 words)

Nic encounters racism.

Shoe leather (161 words)

Nic gets a visit from a door-to-door realtor.


Guest in reality (231 words)

Nic explains how he managed to get engaged on Feb. 29.

Review: Lord of the Silent Kingdom (137 words)

The second installment of Glen Cook’s Instrumentalities of the Night delivers.

Movie roundup, part seven (523 words)

Lots of violence in this round-up. Flags of our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Smashing Machine, Slim Susie, Grindhouse: Planet Terror and Grindhouse: Deathproof.

Super Tuesday! Tuesday! Tuesday! (311 words)

Nic goes to the polls and discovers you need two proofs of identity to vote in Ariz. now.


The worms (105 words)

My daughter hears anti-semitism and blissfully misinterprets it.

Review: Consider the Lobster (82 words)

Excellent collection of writing from the great David Foster Wallace.

Review: The Overlook (100 words)

Michael Connelly delivers a weak Harry Bosch novel.

Review: Darkness, Take My Hand (145 words)

Dennis Lehane manages to write a novel that is too noir for Nic.

The nerd has flown (343 words)

Reflections from Macworld 2008.

The nerd has landed (451 words)

Nic reports from Macworld 2008.

Review: The Big Switch (250 words)

Nice book on the commoditization of corporate IT services. Worth reading for anybody in the field.

Review: Heat (149 words)

Entertaining book about a man’s obsessive quest to become a professional chef.

Corporate communications at its finest (351 words)

Cox Communications isn’t great at, well, communicating.



Review: Perdido Street Station (213 words)

Excellent fantasy from China Miéville.

Review: Made in America (88 words)

For the word nerds.

Lost in the woods (302 words)

Nic loses sight of his daughter at the store and freaks out.

Say hello to my little friend (138 words)

We adopt a third cat, Athena Fairy Princess.


Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora (140 words)

A tentative debut novel from Scott Lynch.

Game changer: Flip Video (438 words)

How the Flip Video is turning the amateur video recording industry on its head.

Review: Nature Girl (118 words)

Carl Hiaasen wants you to not visit Florida.

Review: Bleeding Hearts (173 words)

A disappointing non-Rebus novel from Ian Rankin.

The G-rated Internet (225 words)

Nic highly recommends OpenDNS if you have children who use the Internet.

Movie roundup, part six (391 words)

Stranger than Fiction, The Black Dahlia, Blades of Glory, Hot Fuzz, Zero Kelvin and March of the Penguins.


Review: JPod (99 words)

Douglas Coupland continues the exploration of the lives of tech workers he started in Microserfs.

Review: Right as Rain (104 words)

Hard boiled crime fiction from one of the writers for The Wire.

She rules the night (318 words)

Nic’s daughter loses her first tooth and the tooth fairy is off to a shaky start.

Review: A Cruel Wind (220 words)

The granddaddy of dark fantasy. Highly recommended.

Review: On Intelligence (309 words)

Very interesting book about how intelligence works and the challenges we face in trying to build intelligent machines.


The payback begins (160 words)

The stupid things you say as a teenager have a way of coming back to haunt you.

The winged messenger swoops in (534 words)

Version control is a necessity for staying sane. Nic looks at some options.

Movie roundup, part five (418 words)

Pathfinder, Stalker, Pusher and Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny.

Firefox downloading PDFs to Lexmark folder (145 words)

A solution to a weird Firefox glitch is proffered to the altar of Google.

Review: All Creatures Great and Small (142 words)

Well-deservedly known as a classic.

Shiny Crescent (149 words)

Nic moves his site to a new server. Excitement! Drama! Jazz hands!

Review: Passage at Arms (151 words)

Das Boot in spaaaaaace.

Review: Echo Park (149 words)

A decent installment in the Harry Bosch saga.

The suspension of disbelief (665 words)

Nic explains why he has a hard time dealing with super hero movies and the ways his brain lets him down.


Review: Stumbling on Happiness (298 words)

A slim volume on how we determine whether we’re happy or not. Worth reading.

The first five years from a father’s perspective (1012 words)

Being a dad is the best and hardest thing that can happen to a man. Nic looks back at five years of trying to figure it out.

iMac (Mid 2007) first impressions (539 words)

Nic buys a 24" iMac and tells you about it.

Lucky 13 (51 words)

It’s Nic and his wife’s 13th wedding anniversary.


You and what army? (600 words)

On the joys of giving medicine to a cat.

Review: Twilight Watch (163 words)

Brings the Nightwatch trilogy to a satisfying end.

Review: Day Watch (114 words)

Continues the Nightwatch saga in strong form.

Review: Nightwatch (237 words)

The first novel in the great Nightwatch saga. If you like fantasy, this is the real deal.

Movie roundup, part four (619 words)

This round-up includes Day Watch, Smokin’ Aces, Children of Men, Paycheck and Beerfest. One of them is somewhat funny.


A dark and hungry god arises (618 words)

The hype about the iPhone mystifies Nic.

Review: Hardwired (54 words)

Classic cyberpunk, well worth reading.

WWDC Keynote Death March (415 words)

Nic attends his first and last Stevenote.

The end of the Y (457 words)

Nic sings the praises of the local YMCA where he sent his daughter to preschool and the Reggio Emilia method.

Review: The Digital Photography Book (173 words)

Will help improve the quality of your photographs.

Life in the cloud (863 words)

Keeping data in sync between different computers and different people is tricky. Nic looks at some ways it can be done.


The fairy princess Wii (181 words)

Fairytopia rips off the Wii mote and it actually doesn’t suck.

Review: The Ghost Brigades (205 words)

Fun space opera with emotional depth.

Review: The Dead Yard (155 words)

The second Michael Forsythe novel is grim and fast-paced.

Movie roundup, part three (268 words)

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Casino Royale and Battle Royale. One of these movies doesn’t suck.

Review: Bitter Gold Hearts (108 words)

The second Garrett, P.I. novel is an improvement on the first.

Review: Sweet Silver Blues (180 words)

The first Garrett, P.I. novel is a fun mix of fantasy and noir.

Voices in my head (79 words)

Children are dwarves on acid.

Review: Dead I Well May Be (125 words)

A strong first novel in a dark and grim series.

Review: Judas Unchained (174 words)

The follow-up to Pandora’s Star is epic sci-fi at its finest.

Car alarm yadda yadda (626 words)

Nic gets stuck in customer service hell when he replaces the fob to his car alarm.


Wii first impressions (161 words)

Nic’s family scores a Wii. Here are his first impressions.

You’ve had your car too long when... (113 words)

Nic Lindh, breaker of car fobs.

Desert roses (77 words)

Pics of the gorgeous cactus roses we get in the Sonoran desert.

No sex until marriage doesn’t seem to work (336 words)

A study finds that abstinence-only sex education doesn’t work. Nic is not surprised.

Review: The Sundering (151 words)

The second novel in the space opera.

Review: The Praxis (145 words)

The first novel about the Shaa empire is pure and unabashed space opera.

She’s beautiful! Let’s name her Metallica (242 words)

A Swedish couple decide to name their daughter Metallica. \m/


April Fools (94 words)

You are not funny. Neither is your April Fool’s joke.

Done with movie theaters (553 words)

Nic has (yet another) horrible experience at a movie theater and swears he’s done.

Review: 300 (250 words)

300’s strength and weakness are the same thing: it’s based on a graphic novel.

Review: The Undercover Economist (234 words)

Marketed as being similar to Freakonomics, which it is not.

The voice in the wilderness (52 words)

College is a time for drama, as this graffiti artist illustrates.

My mighty, mighty navel (119 words)

Nic discovers Twitter.

Boosters activated (99 words)

Nic’s daughter graduates from child seat to booster seat.

More cat drama (292 words)

One of our cats gets an enema. I feel her pain.

You know you’re a parent... (22 words)

When you’re a parent your gross meter breaks.

Early morning coffee (373 words)

Nic tries to understand why anybody would stop on the way to work to buy coffee when there’s free coffee at work.

Movie roundup, part two (358 words)

The Departed, The Great Raid, Bastard of the Party, A Scanner Darkly, Sexy Beast, Miami Vice and Layer Cake.


Doing it for free (368 words)

Why the first job for any technology company is to make their product easy to use.

All your podcasts are belong to us (475 words)

Nic puts an iPod connector in his car and his life is changed forever.

Review: What the Dormouse Said (140 words)

A great history of the early days of the personal computer revolution.

How to spot movies that stink (238 words)

Nic provides an easy rule of thumb for determining if a movie stinks.

The tortellini incident (502 words)

Getting your child to eat can be unbelievably frustrating.

Review: The Tyranny of the Night (111 words)

First book in Glen Cook’s The Instrumentalities of the Night series. Good stuff.


The future reality TV winner (201 words)

Nic’s daughter is introduced to show-and-tell at school.

Review: Den of Thieves (182 words)

The story of the bond traders of the 80s and the damage they did. A bit of a slog, but very important.

Welcome to the world (43 words)

Nic’s niece arrives on Earth. Welcome.

Ice palace (80 words)

A fire on an icy January day.

Bad Stevenote. No credit card (145 words)

Nic is disappointed in the 2007 Macworld Expo announcements.

Boy are my arms tired (198 words)

Nic and his daughter are bumped to first class.



The culinary final frontier (164 words)

Nic sings the praises of kebab pizza.

Happy solstice! (55 words)

Nic celebrates the solstice.

Remembering Carl Sagan (83 words)

Nic is still sad about the death of Carl Sagan.

Frost on window pane (38 words)

Frost On Window Pane

Dawn frost (65 words)

Frosty Dawn

Airport play park (186 words)

Airports aren’t exactly the most child-friendly places, but lots of people travel with children and end up trying to amuse them for hours on end while waiting for connecting flights.

Arrived in Sweden (310 words)

Just like last year, Andrea and I are spending the holidays in Sweden with my family.

The MacBook and the Apple curse (288 words)

Back in Ice Age when I was a kid, we didn’t have remote controls for our TVs. You wanted to change the channel, you got your ass off the couch and pushed the analog button on the TV.

Gardening for dummies (261 words)

One of my least favorite activities is yard maintenance, which means that it gets put off, which means that the yard looks worse and worse, which makes it less and less appealing to go out and do the maintenance, and the cycle continues.

IM IN UR XMAS TREE (127 words)

in ur xmastree


Review: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk (175 words)

[How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk](How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish grew from a series of workshops the authors performed, and features battle-tested advice about communicating with children of all ages.

Review: Valentine’s Rising (145 words)

Valentine’s Rising is the fourth book in E. E. Knight’s Vampire Earth series, and continues the story of David Valentine’s struggle against the Kurians.

Review: The Search (209 words)

In The Search, John Battelle provides a short and effective history of the evolution of search technologies on the Internet with a natural focus on Google.

Voter fatigue (368 words)

Update: Well, that went rather well. And the fallout has begun, with Rummy “stepping down”. Good effing riddance.

November 1: Santa’s firing up the rockets (48 words)

Early morning November 1. Wake up, get in the car, fire it up, radio turns on and what should slither through the speakers but the year’s first Christmas ad.


Trick or whatever (232 words)

I’ve never been much of a Halloween person. I don’t like horror, I don’t like dressing up, and I don’t like strangers coming to my door.

Awkward conversations with a four-year-old (256 words)

One evening recently we were having a nice quiet dinner when Andrea asked me, “Do you have a round thing, daddy?”

Build it and they will crumble (236 words)

According to a Reuters story,

Review: A Feast for Crows (271 words)

A Feast for Crows is the fourth installment in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire saga, and competently continues the series by turning up the heat in the existing plot lines and introducing even more characters to the already vast and teeming throng.

Firefox 2 RC2 and teh snappy (100 words)

Life’s really too short to mess around with pre-release software, but somewhere on the Intertubes somebody said that Firefox 2 RC2 is much faster than the 1.5 series, and fasterness is always to be sought after, so I downloaded it.

Eat it! (214 words)

Dinner is my favorite time of the day—the day’s toil is over and it’s time to relax and enjoy a nice meal with the family.

Review: Thud! (283 words)

Thud! is the sound a troll club makes as it bashes a dwarf head, and it’s also the name of a chess-like game where players must take turns playing as trolls and dwarfs in order to win. It is also the sound that begins this eponymous novel, as a dwarf hardliner is beaten to death. The question is, who (or what) wielded the troll club…

Fox hits nadir (103 words)

The j-school where I teach recently implemented a new and very strict academic integrity policy. Bravo, say I.


Review: A Drink Before the War (165 words)

With A Drink Before the War, Dennis Lehane shows that he is a force in modern American Noir. The novel takes place on the mean streets of Boston—portrayed as a cesspool of racial tension, corruption, and grinding poverty—and follows two private investigators as they take on a missing-persons case that seems like it should be open-and-shut, but ends up putting them in the cross hairs (literally) of corrupt politicians and competing gangs.

Review: Cowl (242 words)

After the excellent Gridlinked and The Skinner, Neal Asher’s Cowl is a terrible let-down.

Top 10 "invisible" tech (644 words)

The other day, as parents are wont to do, I was thinking about what kind of world my daughter is going to live in when she grows up.

All computers great and small (254 words)

One of the greatest TV series ever is All Creatures Great & Small, the story of James Herriot’s veterinary adventures in the British countryside in the 1930s. It’s warm-hearted, funny, and touching, a reminder of a different age and lifestyle.

Review: The World Is Flat (243 words)

Thomas Friedman’s The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century outlines the forces that are “flattening” the world—increasing the flow of information and work between far-flung places and cultures and causing global competition in new areas.

Professor Moriarty, I presume? (142 words)

Out of Sweden today comes the story (sorry, article is in Swedish) of what may be the most inept bank robber in history.

A special day (113 words)

Andrea enjoys eating snacks in front of the TV, but alas that particular activity is restricted to special days.

Changement de Pieds (86 words)

At her request, we have enrolled Andrea in a ballet class at the YMCA.

Review: Tale of the Thunderbolt (86 words)

In this third installment in his The Vampire Earth series, E. E. Knight continues to flesh out both his characters and the abysmal reality in which they dwell, making it darker than the two previous novels in the series.

Review: Choice of the Cat (91 words)

Choice of the Cat is the second novel in E. E. Knight’s The Vampire Earth series, and continues David Valentine’s saga.

Review: Way of the Wolf (198 words)

Oh, guilty pleasures. Way of the Wolf is the first novel in E. E. Knight’s The Vampire Earth series, and tells the story of a near-future Earth that has been invaded by (literally) blood thirsty aliens called the Kurians. The Kurians rule by fear, live off the auras of sentient beings (the blood is drunk as a part of the process of harvesting the auras), and are helped by genetically modified monsters and, of course, human quislings. It’s not a good time to be human.

Review: The Lincoln Lawyer (156 words)

The Lincoln Lawyer is the story of Mickey Haller, a Los Angeles attorney cut from hard-boiled and cynical cloth, and the case that comes very close to breaking him.

Review: Olympos (54 words)

Olympos is the conclusion to Dan Simmons’s epic and mind-warping Ilium, and impressively enough it’s even further out-there than Ilium.


C-Day (447 words)

Today was the Big Day: My Naturalization Ceremony. So now I have a piece of paper that says I’m just as much a citizen of the United States as anybody else. During the ceremony, 106 people from 32 countries became citizens, which is pretty darn cool.

Movie roundup (433 words)

Here’s a short dump of movies I’ve seen lately:

Review: Berlin Noir (197 words)

Philip Kerr’s Berlin Noir is an omnibus of three novels: March Violets, The Pale Criminal, and A German Requiem.

Review: When Genius Failed (145 words)

When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management is a business book that reads like a Greek tragedy, filled with the exceptional hubris of very smart and driven people who end up losing sight of their own weaknesses.

10 years in the sun (393 words)

Somehow I almost forgot: August 12, 1996 was the date when my wife and I arrived in the Valley of the Sun carrying two suitcases each and with only the name of a motel in Tempe allegedly close to the ASU campus for a guiding light.

Review: Fooled by Randomness (159 words)

Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets is, as Taleb says in the prologue “about luck disguised and perceived as nonluck (that is, skills) and, more generally, randomness disguised and perceived as non-randomness (that is, determinism).” At its core, it’s a meditation on how poor us humans are at discerning what events around us are influenced by luck and chance, and the often counter-intuitive way the financial markets—and life—work.

Fear the silence (81 words)

The first rule of toddlers is that silence is bad—a rule you forget at your own messy peril.

Finding the right color (145 words)

Here’s a tip if you’re looking to do some painting but aren’t sure about which colors to go with: If there’s an Ikea in your area, go there and take a look at the colors in their room mock-ups. They put the color used on each wall.

What I’ve been up to the last four days (33 words)

Die White Wall Die


Review: The Skinner (152 words)

Neal Asher followes up his impressive debut novel Gridlinked (my review here) with The Skinner, which takes place in the same Polity universe but with the action focused on the planet Spatterjay, arguably the most dangerous Earth-like planet in the universe, with indigenous life forms straight out of nightmares.

Review: Gridlinked (180 words)

Take hard SF, mix in a healthy dose of cyberpunk, add a touch of noir and sprinkle ironically with James Bond, and you have the recipe for Neal Asher’s fantastic debut Gridlinked.

Review: Century Rain (173 words)

Departing from the Revelation Space universe of his previous novels, with Century Rain Alastair Reynolds creates a near-future where Earth has become a wasteland after nano machines have gone amok. The only human survivors are the descendants of the inhabitants of space stations around Earth at the time of the apocalypse.

Review: Old Man’s War (159 words)

With Old Man’s War, John Scalzi picks up Heinlein’s fallen mantle and runs with it†—the basic premise is that in the future humanity has spread out from Earth and has met other alien races, a surprising amount of whom are in no way interested in sharing the galaxy, and thus there is war; old people are given the option of joining the army, with rumors floating around that there is a means to rejuvenate these older people and get them into fighting shape…

U-S-A! U-S-A! (213 words)

Had my interview for naturalization as a US citizen today, marking the end of a couple of weeks of monster stress, as my mind built the civics portion of the interview into the cross-examination of a Constitutional lawyer and I learned the ins and outs of every amendment and the history of the United States from the first landings of the colonists to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Image spam (107 words)

Most of my email accounts are mercifully low-spam, including the .Mac account that’s been the center of my online world since way back when it was a wee little free iTools account.

Adventures in schooling (634 words)

The day care center where Andrea has spent her days has all in all been pretty good over the years. She’s had good teachers who cared about the children, had good little friends, and above all she hasn’t hated going there. My naive thinking on the subject has always been that as long as your child doesn’t hate going to the day care center, things must be at least okay.


It’s a good thing I’m rich (455 words)

Like any household with a toddler that needs to be delivered to day care, mornings at the Lindhs are an exercise in stress and the futility of imagining that a 4-year-old will understand the concept of the word “hurry.” Ninety-nine mornings of a hundred, this means that I roll to work at one particular time, and my wife rolls to Andrea’s daycare and then her job at some other time. It’s just how things are.

Review: The Ancestor’s Tale (205 words)

In The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution Richard Dawkins takes a reverse-approach to the evolution of life, beginning with the current day and then moving back through time and meetings with 40 “concestors,” species where the line that spawned humans meets other lines, all the way to the beginning of life on this planet some 4 billion years ago.

No World Cup for you. Four years. (200 words)

Tobias Linderoth

The little stoic (145 words)

Took Andrea to the pediatrician today for a wellness visit and her final set of vaccinations until she turns twelve. We talked in the car going there about how she was going to be brave and not cry when she got the shots, and she made me unutterably proud by delivering on her promise.

Review: A Question of Blood (161 words)

A school shooting at a prep school in an Edinburgh suburb leaves two boys dead and one wounded, with the perpetrator turning the gun on himself.

Review: Resurrection Men (182 words)

In Resurrection Men, John Rebus has finally stepped too far over the line and been consigned to a “last chance” course at the Scottish Police College, where he joins other dark sheep police men whose careers are at risk.

The angry blogger (38 words)

Got a chuckle out of this at breakfast today:

Review: The Falls (273 words)

University student Phillipa Balfour, son of a prominent Edinburgh banker, has disappeared, and most of the police frenetically searching for her believe her to be dead. As the search grows more desperate, Inspector Rebus finds what he believes is evidence of a serial killer who has been operating undetected in Scotland for a long time, and who may be responsible for Phillipa Balfour’s disappearance.

Et tu, Brute? (506 words)

Isis After Vet Visit

Review: Set in Darkness (204 words)

It’s yet another dark, grey, and damp December in Scotland when an old, desiccated corpse is found in Queensberry House, one of the buildings being converted to serve as the new Scottish Parliament. Then a newly elected Member of Scottish Parliament is found bludgeoned to death close to where the corpse was found. At the same time, two rapists are haunting Edinburgh.

Number of the Beast (42 words)

Today is 6/6/6. It’s still early in the day, so no nuttiness in the news yet.

Review: Dead Souls (192 words)

Dead Souls continues Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus series in full force.

Murdered 600 years ago (297 words)



Memo to Isis the kitten (80 words)

To: Kitten

Happy Birthday, Andrea! (34 words)

Andrea Is Four

Review: The Hanging Garden (235 words)

The Hanging Garden continues Ian Rankin’s saga of John Rebus, and is stuffed to the rafters with plot. Rebus is working on a case about a suspected World War II war criminal, now an old man who enjoys planting flowers in a cemetery, while he attempts to protect a Bosnian refugee who has been forced into prostitution, a new crime lord attempts to take over Edinburgh, the yakuza seem to be moving in, and his daughter is in a coma after a hit-and-run accident … or was it really an accident?

Kitten notes (216 words)

Now that we’ve had Isis for a few days, a couple of notes:

Review: Hard News (237 words)

Hard News: Twenty-one Brutal Months at The New York Times and How They Changed the American Media tells the story of how managerial dysfunction allowed reporter Jayson Blair to lie and plagiarize his way up the career ladder at The New York Times, and in the process deal a massive blow to the paper’s credibility.

New family member (269 words)

Please allow me to introduce the newest family member at Casa Core Dump:

Pain in the neck (191 words)

Had to stay home from work today due to this weird crick in the neck I’ve experienced for the last couple of days. Hurts like hell and is highly annoying. Annoying enough, in fact, that I even thought about going to see a doctor about it.†

Review: Secrets and Lies (152 words)

In Secrets and Lies: Digital Security in a Networked World, renowned cryptography expert Bruce Schneier introduces the reader to a means of thinking about and implementing digital security.

Pedal to the metal (225 words)

If you’ve read this blog for a while you know that your humble author spends more time in traffic every day than somebody who hasn’t been committed for any crime ever should.

The $29 T-shirt (137 words)

Daring Fireball Tee

Review: Black and Blue (124 words)

Black and Blue takes Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus series to the next level. It’s grittier and harder than the previous novels in the series.

Cyberpunk rolls on (38 words)

My daughter: Budding artist or normal three-year-old?

A window darkly (416 words)

In the end, resistance was futile.

Review: Let it Bleed (187 words)

Let it Bleed continues Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus series in good form, even though it is a darker, more brooding novel than the series has previously seen (which is not to say that any of the Rebus novels have been laugh riots.)


Let them drink oil (368 words)

Update: Defective Yeti skewers the heart of the $100-check-because-we-feel-your-pain scheme.

Review: The DaVinci Code (191 words)

Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code is of course a massive runaway bestseller and the basis for a soon-to-be-released Hollywood blockbuster.

An early morning gross-out (93 words)

What would be even more disgusting than waking up at an ungodly hour only to be met with the hacking sounds of a cat puking?

A good year for cactus (143 words)

It’s the time of the year when the cactuses of the Sonoran desert bloom, and while not exactly a riot of color, there’s something very special about seeing the rugged and blandly colored plants extrude fragile flowers.

Aryan race laws in Sweden (236 words)

Whenever you’re talking to a Swedish person and they start getting all uppity about how Sweden is all about peace and love and big hugs, you may want to point them to this article. (If you happen to be in front of a computer right at that moment, of course.)

It’s not stupid (220 words)

The word “stupid” has joined booty-head on the list of words we don’t allow Andrea to use. This word is apparently bandied about in the mean streets of day care quite a lot, and we don’t want her to denigrate others, so it made The List†.

Review: Mortal Causes (119 words)

A young man is tortured and executed in a brutal manner that leads the police to suspect a connection with the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Mortal Causes, the sixth novel in Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus series, sees Rebus forced to confront his own past as a soldier during the height of the Troubles.

Review: The Black Book (182 words)

The Black Book finds John Rebus attempting to figure out who attacked one of his partners and put him in a coma outside a restaurant run by a man with an Elvis fixation and a bad case of horrible puns, attempt to save his current relationship after his girlfriend throws him out and forces him to move back in to his apartment which he is currently subletting to an unspecified number of university students, and to top it all off his brother comes to stay with him after his release from prison.

Color TV in 1962 (183 words)

Here we go, then. Another April 1st and the entire intarweb reveals its complete and utter lack of a sense of humor. Sigh.


Prayer’s healing power disproven (224 words)

An interesting study sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation of 1,802 patients who underwent heart bypass surgery found no evidence whatsoever of the healing power of prayer.

Pledge drive time (135 words)


Review: Caesar’s Legion (235 words)

In Casar’s Legion: The Epic Saga of Julius Caesar’s Elite Tenth Legion and the Armies of Rome, Stephen Dando-Collins has created a comprehensive history of the famed Legio X, known as the Roman Empire’s finest fighting unit.

Army of Darkness (165 words)

Andrea has reached the time in her life when ponies and horses for some reason that utterly eludes me become really, really important.

Review: Strip Jack (65 words)

Ian Rankin’s Strip Jack is the fourth novel in the Inspector Rebus series. Strip Jack has a strong plot and Rankin spends a lot of energy on fleshing out his supporting characters, both police and suspects, leading to an engrossing police procedural.

Review: Tooth and Nail (155 words)

Tooth and Nail is Ian Rankin’s third Inspector Rebus novel, and it sees Rebus sent on assignment to London to help catch a serial killer the press has dubbed The Wolfman.

Friday silliness (54 words)

My sister is one of those people who keep spamming her friends and family with silly chain letters, which sometimes gets annoying even though I love her dearly.

Review: Hide and Seek (114 words)

Hide and Seek is Ian Rankin’s second Inspector Rebus novel. It is a taut, gritty, and utterly engrossing murder mystery that continues to flesh out the character of John Rebus and also builds an excellent cast of secondary characters.

The Core Dump after dark (92 words)

Just to illustrate the non-stop rock ’n’ roll life style that goes on at Casa Core Dump, my wife needed to go to the mall to get something tonight.

Review: Knots and Crosses (224 words)

Knots and Crosses is the first in Ian Rankin’s multi-award-winning series of novels about Inspector John Rebus. According to the author himself, he intended the novel to be a modern update of the myth of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but ended up turning out a taut and psychologically believable police procedural.

Reprieve from the drought (103 words)

It’s raining today, the end of 143 days of zero precipitation. Dark skies, drizzling rain, temperature in the 40s … a perfect day for curling up with a book or a laptop.

All about the Salmons, yo (55 words)

Indeed, this is legal US tender:

The silence of the fans (160 words)

It’s amazing how used you get to certain situations and how some stimulus responses wire themselves into your brain.

Begin world domination (177 words)

The Intel Mini arrived today. You know, people can chart and graph benchmarks all they want—when you go from a dual-gig Windtunnel to a Dual Core, things become pretty damn impressively Snappy™.

Review: The Closers (149 words)

The Closers is Michael Connelly’s 11th Harry Bosch novel, and it sees Bosch return to active duty, more specifically as a member of the LAPD’s elite Open/Unsolved Unit, formerly and more prosaically known as the Cold Case Squad.

Review: The Smartest Guys in the Room (164 words)

The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron is an exhaustively researched and beautifully written indictment not only of a corrupt company, but also of a business climate that fostered and encouraged such companies.

Housekeeping (173 words)

It looks like the WordPress migration of this site is now complete—old posts have been imported, links have been fixed, and in general things look pretty good.

UnLinksys my heart (150 words)

Turns out that Linksys is also joining in Make Steve Richer Day.

Mini me (104 words)

People of Earth: It’s time we all come together as one to make sure Steve Jobs gets richer.


First post (143 words)

The Core Dump is now powered by WordPress, after a Typo upgrade went spectacularly wrong. Although that was more of an impetus for change—I’d been eyeing WordPress for a while, and decided that rather than roll back to an earlier rev of Typo, why not just go ahead and test the waters a bit?

Olympic money (100 words)

One thing that’s constantly boggling my mind here in my Winter Olympics Coma is the amount of money Chevy, Budweiser, and Visa must be spending on advertising.

Review: Fleshmarket Alley (167 words)

Fleshmarket Alley is the 15th novel Ian Rankin has written about Inspector John Rebus and the dark and gloomy Edinburgh in which he lives and works.

Olympics (113 words)

The Olympics are happening in Torino, and despite my customary indifference to sports, the Olympics always get my attention.

Heart tax day (295 words)

Valentine’s day in the States today, a day for single people to binge on chocolate and sappy movies, and for men in relationships to fear the wrath of their significant others if they don’t kowtow to the Flower-Restaurant-Greeting Card Complex (FRGCC).

Water, my Bête Noire (451 words)

Water not only does not fall from the sky here in Phoenix, where we’ve now gone something like 115 days without measurable precipitation, what we have of it also tastes utterly atrocious and will clog your pipes.

Flibbertigibbet (26 words)

Isn’t that just a wonderful word? Flibbertigibbet.

A pox on hard water (193 words)

One memory that tends to stick with people who have moved to the Valley of the Sun is their first shower. You get in the shower, soap yourself up, and wonder, “Hey, isn’t soap supposed to lather?”

Nic joins the 21st century. Film at 11 (359 words)

Our VCR burned out in a power failure a year or so ago, and we just haven’t had the time or inclination to go buy a replacement. The VCR spent its life as a time-shift mechanism, allowing us to tape things we know we’d want to watch and then catch those programs at our convenience, and with the added bonus of fast-forwarding commercials.

Review: Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days (189 words)

Set in Alastair Reynolds’s Revelation Space universe, Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days consists of two novellas.


Review: Moneyball (173 words)

Michael Lewis’s Moneyball is ostensibly a book about baseball, how the Oakland A’s and their general manager Billy Beane used statistical data and computer models to cut through the myths of the sport. This enabled them to purchase excellent players that other teams overlooked and to compete successfully on a shoestring budget.

Review: The Broker (79 words)

John Grisham is at his best when he’s writing about court room intrigue and high-powered wheelings-and-dealings. Unfortunately, The Broker has very little of either.

Drop the hammer (180 words)

On the road today, saw a black Corvette with a license plate frame that said, “I know, I know, license and registration.”

Five top 5 lists (123 words)

For no particular reason except your amusement, here are five top five lists.

Review: Jarhead (101 words)

Some very few books ring raw and true, with an author who reveals himself and his surroundings with such abandon and relentless honesty that they are almost painful to read. Jarhead is such a book.

Review: Loaded Dice (68 words)

Loaded Dice is James Swain’s fourth Tony Valentine novel, and it admirably continues the series, showing development of the main characters, a fast-moving plot, and more of the series’ trademark insider gambling knowledge.

The silliness of developers (273 words)

Andrea’s preschool uses a piece of software called WinTime Deluxe for parents to clock their wee ones in and out of the virus farm.

Review: Sucker Bet (65 words)

Sucker Bet is James Swain’s third Tony Valentine novel, and with it the series really finds it form—the characterizations gel, the plot is fast and funny, the prose is tight, and you can feel how much Swain cares about his characters.

Review: Funny Money (99 words)

Funny Money is James Swain’s second Tony Valentine novel after Grift Sense (my review here), and unfortunately it hits a pretty serious sophomore slump.

Life summarized (63 words)

Spent some time visiting family in a small town called Vänersborg during the visit to Sweden. While there, found a book of pictures from the city taken during the 50s.

Objects in windshield may be closer than they appear (78 words)

Am I the only one who constantly gets confused by the Scion xBs?

A pox on all computers (138 words)

UPDATE: After I drop some serious Hamiltons on a new hard drive, one of the fans starts sounding like a harvester. Oh, woe is me. /UPDATE

Long day’s travel to night (1063 words)

Andrea and I have safely arrived back in Phoenix after a long and excruciating flight that probably took ten years off my life. All the mechanics went well with flights more or less on time, etc., but my little girl who was such an angel on the flight to Sweden was nowhere close to her best behavior on the flight back.



Some notes on cold weather (211 words)

We had a category two blizzard warning yesterday, but the storm petered out a bit before it got to us, so it ended up being not much more than heavy snow and some winds. Nevertheless, traffic chaos ensued.

Solstice (128 words)

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel, is the opening line from Neuromancer.

Random observations from Sweden (396 words)

Every once in a while back in the States somebody will ask me about differences between Sweden and the US. However, since I so rarely visit the Old Country, it’s hard for me to say. So I figured I’d post some things here while they’re fresh in my mind and in no particular order.

Greetings from Sweden (83 words)

Jet lag is no fun. Caring for a three-year-old with jet lag is infinitely less fun. It seems as though we’re starting to adjust our circadian rhythms now so hopefully smoother sailing is ahead.

Posting from somewhere over the Atlantic (194 words)

This is teh awesome! Posting this from a Scandinavian Airlines flight somewhere over the Atlantic. SAS has equipped all their transatlantic flights with wireless, and by a happy alignment of the stars Andrea fell asleep just as a nice gentleman showed up with a 30 minutes free promo. So there we go.

Boy are my arms going to be tired (112 words)

The hour is drawing near for Andrea and me to take to the friendly skies for our Holiday trip to Sweden. We’ll leave Phoenix on Thursday morning and arrive in Sweden Friday morning.

Review: Armageddon (221 words)

Max Hastings’s Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945 is a sprawling and inclusive depiction of the last year of the Third Reich. The book looks at this time from the points of view of both the Allies and Germans, and separates itself from most World War II literature by spending much time on the fate of civilians touched by the conflict, covering the tragedies suffered by Dutch, Polish, Russian, Hungarian, and German civilians as the maelstrom of war pulled them down.

Big it up for the Holidays (101 words)

The Holidays are upon us, and it can be a pretty stressful time. To help us all get through this, here is a message from the Savior himself:

Curses (303 words)

Andrea has reached the age where the concept of bad words starts to percolate through her evolving neural structures.

Review: Tides of War (232 words)

Steven Pressfield follows up the highly successful Gates of Fire (my review here) with Tides of War, a novel of the Peloponnesian War focusing on the larger-than-life Athenian leader Alcibiades and told mostly from the point of view of Polymides, an Athenian soldier and mercenary.

Review: Freehold (202 words)

Freehold shares a strong libertarian point of view with science fiction authors like Heinlein.

WWJB (120 words)

Seen on a bumper sticker today:


Post-gobble wrap-up (119 words)

Thanksgiving was quite the necessary breather before we head in to the Holiday Formerly Known as Christmas and mine and Andrea’s visit to Sweden. We managed to relax, eat, and really have nothing to show for the time off, exactly according to plan.

The Thanksgiving conundrum (241 words)

Tomorrow is thanksgiving in the US of A, and according to tradition, there must be a turkey carcass involved in the festivities. Traditions are great, and are to be supported within reason, as they provide the glue that keeps a society from fragmenting.

Thanksgiving approaches (118 words)

My numero Uno American holiday is barreling down upon us—the holiday that is dedicated to family, eating, and slack. There’s nothing to buy—unless you count the food—no pressure to decorate the hell out of your house, and no forced cheer.

Top 20 geek novels (129 words)

I’m utterly chagrined I missed a chance to vote on the top 20 geek novels. Despite only getting a 132 votes, it’s a pretty interesting and comprehensive list.

It’s a long way to cat heaven (116 words)

My biggest worry about having to put Turbo to sleep was how it would affect Andrea. It’s very hard to talk about death with a three-year-old.

Putting Turbo to sleep (1226 words)

As I wrote in this post, our cat Turbo had been diagnosed with feline diabetes. After the blood work was done, the vet thought her diabetes would most likely be treatable by a combination of two pills a day and a prescription high-protein diet. She would have to be on the pills and the prescription diet for the rest of her life, which for a five-year-old cat could well be more than ten years.

R.I.P. Turbo, 2000-2005 (7 words)


Turbo is sick (329 words)

Our cat Turbo has contracted a urinary tract infection for the third time in a year and a half, so in the morning my wife took her to the vet to see what’s going on.

Review: Grift Sense (133 words)

Having the “grift sense” means you can feel when a con is going down, even if you have no idea what the con is or who is doing it.

Review: Be Cool (46 words)

Be Cool follows the adventures in Hollywood of former shylock Chili Palmer that began in Get Shorty.

Review: Freakonomics (190 words)

Freakonomics is an exploration of using the tools of economics on questions that often aren’t seen as within the purview of the science itself, such as, Does standardized testing make teachers cheat?; Why do drug dealers live with their parents? and several others.

A budding comedienne (57 words)

We were finishing dinner tonight, and as usual Andrea finished before her mommy and daddy. So she got up from the table, grinned, and said, “I pood!”

Review: Going Postal (155 words)

Going Postal is Terry Pratchett’s 29th Discworld novel, and it’s a beaut.

Fear the Candy Monster (175 words)

Halloween was a rip-roaring success here in the burb, with lots of children and most of them apparently with parents that take this whole trick-or-treat thing quite, quite seriously—oodles of highly elaborate costumes and setups in front of houses.


Free as a bird (276 words)

Beastie loves you

Review: High Fidelity (192 words)

Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity was successfully turned into a John Cusack movie of the same name, but even if you’ve seen the movie, the book is still worth reading as it provides a deeper level of understanding of the well-drawn protagonist. (My thoughts about the movie are here.)

Getting cultured (247 words)

Despite my increasing old-and-grizzledness, life still manages to find a way to throw me a curve ball now and then. Such was the case yesterday.

Review: Gates of Fire (150 words)

Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by,that here obedient to their laws we lie.

Review: Pandora’s Star (147 words)

Peter F. Hamilton’s Pandora’s Star is one of the most impressive science fiction novels of the decade … a huge, sprawling epic.

Flabbey Road (28 words)

This picture must forever be titled Flabbey Road:

Extreme catblogging Friday (106 words)

That’s right, people. It’s time to take CatBlogging Friday to the eXtreme. No more pussyfooting around.

Charlatan survives own prophecy (94 words)

There’s just so much to ponder in this story about an astrologer who mistakenly predicted his own death.

Downfall (48 words)

Just finished watching Downfall, a German movie about the final 10 days of the Third Reich. It’s an extremely powerful movie, showing the monstrosity and evil of the Nazis, as well as the humanity.

I am weak (79 words)

Went to the mall Friday for a haircut and ended up going to the Apple Store, where they had the 4GB Black Nanos in stock. Walked out with one. It is the precious.

Weekend music (270 words)

If you’re in the mood for some new music this weekend, may I recommend checking out two Swedish artists? Neither one seems to have any distribution in the States yet, but thanks to the magic of teh intarweb, you can still check out their videos and other samples.

Happy blogaversary! (58 words)

Apparently, I’m really terrible about anniversaries. Managed to miss’s blogaversary, which was on October 9th. But better late than never, so here’s to two years of The Core Dump being online and not having any readers!

San Diego trip roundup (332 words)

It’s such a cliché for us Zonies to go to San Diego for vacation, but it’s a cliché because it’s true: Gorgeous beaches, fantastic weather, and a surmountable distance makes for an excellent getaway.

Freewheel burning (309 words)

If you’re driving from, say, San Diego to Phoenix, a really bad place to get a flat tire would be, say, outside Dateland, AZ.

Get your beach on! (193 words)

The Lindhs are heading to San Diego this weekend for some R’n’R. We’ve got reservations for a hotel on the beach in Mission Bay and will spend Serious Family Time™ at Seaworld over the weekend.

Born OK (12 words)

Seen on a bumper sticker this morning: “Born OK the first time.”

Quack like a duck (213 words)

Maybe it’s from reading The Stand at an impressionable age, but the idea of a bird flu pandemic scares the bejeebus out of me.

Grace under fire (134 words)

When it comes to laughing in the face of death, few can beat the ancient Greeks.

Catblogging Friday (94 words)

When you have a blog and cats, it is your solemn duty to the blogosphere to provide the occasional pointless cat posting.


azcentral bites the dust (312 words)

azcentral is the web site for our local paper of record, The Arizona Republic. It’s a pretty decent site, fast to update throughout the day and not too garish. So it used to be one of my “I-have-a-minute-so-I’ll-see-what’s-happening” sites. Used to be.

Banned books week (53 words)

The week of September 24 to October 1 is the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week.

Review: Ilium (223 words)

Ilium is a truly strange beast. Strap on your oxygen masks, because here’s a plot summary: The Greek Gods (yes, Zeus, Apollo, Athena, that bunch) are staging the Iliad on Mars. They have reincarnated noted scholics (scholars of the Iliad) to take notes and report of any discrepancies between the war taking place and the version in the Iliad.

Zeitgeist (329 words)

I’ve been huddled under my blanket in front of the TV for most of the day as the silent battle between viruses and white blood cells continues. (Go blood cells!)

Notes from under a blanket (99 words)

It had to happen sooner or later: Andrea brought some kind of bug home from the virus farm (as I tend to think of day care) and it’s knocked me out.

High-tech law enforcement (263 words)

Several years ago I worked at the city museum of Skövde creating the texts and printed materials for an exhibition about the history of the city. One of the artifacts we had lying around was a book where the authors had interviewed the elder residents of the city during the early years of the 20th century and gathered their stories. Sort of a folklore project.

Review: What’s the Matter with Kansas? (120 words)

What’s the Matter with Kansas is Thomas Frank’s attempt at understanding why so many people are voting against their economic interests.

Big ol’ jetliner (120 words)

Big plans for The Holiday Which Can Not Be Named: Have purchased tickets to visit the Old Country with Andrea.

Life support system (257 words)

Pardon me while I rant. After the horror of September 11, America went to War on Terrorism and our tax money went into upgrading our infrastructure to deal with another terrorist attack. Air travel became a submissive’s wet dream. Billions and billions of dollars went into homeland security. We invaded a whole country.

At the new server (294 words)

The Core Dump is now safely ensconced at its new home, Burnaby at TextDrive. This should be the last time for a while that I’ll move the site, as I signed up for their lifetime hosting. So as long as they stay in business and keep providing great service, that’s where this site will be. Hopefully this will be a long time.

A pox on Apple... (102 words)

…for releasing the iPod Nano. Now I must have one. And if history is any indication they won’t be in the channel for weeks or months. The stores will get five one day, then ten a few days later, and on and on like Chinese water torture.

Thanksgiving (127 words)

I’ve spent pretty much all my free time this week planted in front of the TV watching CNN’s coverage of Katrina’s aftermath and couch-surfing for more information, and am, like so many others, shocked by the ravages of the storm and utterly infuriated by the ham-handed rescue efforts.


New Orleans in the crosshairs (80 words)

We are completely stunned by the news about category 5 Hurricane Katrina barreling down on the Gulf Coast and New Orleans.

Coronation Day (147 words)

Today was Coronation Day—had my second crown installed and a final cleaning. Both dentist and dental hygienist seemed happy with the New and Improved™ state of my choppers and gums. And when they’re happy, I’m happy.

Review: Chasm City (159 words)

Set in Alastair Reynolds’s Revelation Space universe, Chasm City departs from the grand epic scale of that trilogy, instead focusing on Chasm City after the ravages of a horrific disease dubbed the Melding Plague, and the history of Sky’s Edge, a world trapped in perennial warfare.

Review: Absolution Gap (97 words)

Absolution Gap is the last book in Alastair Reynolds’s Revelation Space trilogy, a far-future epic of humanity’s encounter with the galactic Inhibitors. Unfortunately it is an epic disappointment.

Review: Rain Storm (116 words)

Rain Storm is the third novel about assassin John Rain and continues the series with aplomb.

Flix from the Net (225 words)

After much hemming, hawing, and kvetching about the abysmal state of movies available on HBO (no, thank you, I’ve seen LOTR enough times now) we decided to bite the bullet and sign up with Netflix.

Review: Redemption Ark (170 words)

Redemption Ark is the follow-up to Alastair Reynolds’s highly acclaimed debut Revelation Space (my review here) and continues the far-future tale of humanity’s encounter with the Inhibitors. The story picks up where Revelation Space left off, but Redemption Ark introduces a slew of new characters, most notably members of the most technologically advanced faction of humanity known as Conjoiners as well as, intriguingly enough, genetically modified pigs.

"What’s your car doing?" (150 words)

Today was one of those rare rainy days in Phoenix, with an overcast sky and swampy mugginess. In short, a highly welcome change of pace.

Bookstore (195 words)

Talking to Joe the other day about finding ways to eke a few dollars out of the intarweb, he had the idea of spinning off my book reviews into an Amazon affiliate site with some advertising thrown in for good measure.

Steel anniversary (49 words)

Today marks 11 years that my lovely wife has put up with being married to me.

Review: Market Forces (168 words)

With Market Forces, Richard Morgan moves away from the far-future trappings of his Takeshi Kovacs novels and instead delivers a more “traditional” cyberpunk novel set in a dystopian near-future where most nation states have collapsed and their functions have been subsumed by corporations.

Viagra for the nerd (285 words)

It’s been a long time since I experienced technolust … sure Tiger is cool, w00t, widget, whatever, and a monstrous monitor would be nice, it will be swell when the x86 Macs hit the street next year with some serious speed, but, you know, that’s not lust, just attraction.


Hollaback Girl deconstructed (83 words)

A friend forwarded me this from a mailing list. I am not the author. If you are the author, or know who is, please let me know and I will give appropriate credit.

Wake and bake (126 words)

Had my second dentist appointment this morning. Getting out of bed and hitting the Valiums first thing does make me feel like a third-rate Hunter S. Thompson.

On the road (146 words)

My commute is woefully long, so I see a lot of cars during the week. Mostly they’re all interchangeable cocoons of isolation, but sometimes there are those people who go above and beyond to turn their conveyance into a personal statement. And sometimes other people help them.

Cat claw implants getting closer (278 words)

I’ve lamented in the past how we don’t seem to be getting any closer to interesting cyberpunk tech, but two items in today’s news point to some activity:

The dawn of deception (244 words)

Saturdays are candy days here at Casa Core Dump—the one day of the week Andrea gets to eat candy and other sweets, including ice cream. We spend a lot of time working on the days of the week, making her understand what day it is.

Think you’re having a bad day? (119 words)

Ran across this image on the web site of Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, and since it makes me cringe, it must be worth sharing.

I, for one, welcome our creepy fish overlords (7 words)

Beluga Whale

Uncomfortable movie moments (165 words)

After our experience with having Andrea watch Bambi, I’ve been thinking about those moments in movies that you really like that you can’t watch again. The kind where if you’re channel surfing and come across the movie, you’ll watch the movie, and knowing that the scene is coming up, spend some quality time on C-SPAN until you’re sure it’s over, then flip back to the movie.

Review: Revelation Space (162 words)

Alastair Reynolds hits it out of the park with Revelation Space, a heady mixture of hard sf, space opera, and cyberpunk with a huge and epic scope.

Crematoria (74 words)

You know you’re signing up for pain during the summer when you move to Phoenix, but this is ridiculous:

Oy, vey (151 words)

If you’ve visited the site during the last day or so, you either got some kind of error or timeout, or saw this:

Review: Blue Blood (132 words)

Edward Conlon’s Blue Blood is an autobiography of his time in the NYPD, but it is also a lot more. A compelling writer, Conlon provides an in-the-trenches look at life as a cop, working patrol in the slums, doing B&B (buy and bust) operations with narcotics, and being promoted to detective.

Bambi trauma (140 words)

We were a bit hesitant to let Andrea watch Bambi despite it being an excellent children’s movie. Our hesitation of course stemming from the scene where Bambi’s mother is shot by the hunter.

Another day of infamy (13 words)

Union Jack

Three-ring circus (211 words)

Took Andrea to the circus the other day. Ringling Bros. I’ve never been a circus kind of guy, and kind of dreaded having to drive down to America West Arena and deal with downtown parking, not to mention the whole “arena” lowest-common-denominator lobotomy zombie experience. I can never walk into an arena without feeling the weight of the Roman empire’s decline into irrelevance and decadence. That huge space, primarily devoted to watching people run around chasing little balls and putting them through nets while masses of people work themselves into frenzies about which color tank top got the most balls through the little net… Well, anyway, I don’t like arenas.

It’s a white thing (77 words)

Today at dinner, Andrea wanted ice in her water, prompting me to teach her to sing the chorus from legendary urban poet Vanilla Ice’s Ice, Ice, Baby.


Review: King of Foxes (101 words)

King of Foxes is the second installment in Raymond E. Feist’s Conclave of Shadows trilogy, following Talon of the Silver Hawk [review here].

Review: Talon of the Silver Hawk (147 words)

Set in Midkemia, Talon of the Silver Hawk tells the story of a young man from a mountain tribe who, after his whole tribe is wiped out in a savage raid by an ambitious neighboring nobleman, is adopted by a secret society and trained to become pretty much a fantasy genre James Bond.

Review: Gust Front (111 words)

John Ringo’s Gust Front is the follow-up to A Hymn Before Battle and continues the tale of aggression by the Posleen horde. While the action in A Hymn Before Battle took place on other planets, in Gust Front the Posleen land on a woefully ill-prepared Earth.

Alphabetical filing, oh yeah (163 words)

Been spending a fun few days powering through on getting the house back in order—it was well past time.

Midsummer’s lament (174 words)

Today is Midsummer’s Eve in Sweden. This is the one day of the year when I really wish I was there.

RIFing feeds (421 words)

They say you have to bottom out before you can really face your addiction, and that’s what’s been happening for the last few months.

Review: Generation Kill (162 words)

Evan Wright spent the beginning of the Second Iraq War embedded with the elite Marine First Recon Battalion, riding with them in their Humvees as they spearheaded the invasion.

Bill Frist, Insta-MD (145 words)

One of the most offensive actions surrounding the tragic Terry Schiavo case was when Senator Bill Frist, a Medical Doctor, watched a few minutes of video of the brain-damaged Mrs. Sciavo and declared, in his infinite wisdown, that Mrs. Schiavo was not brain dead and that she “responded to visual stimuli“. Mr. Frist’s insta-diagnosis of course contradicted the one made by doctors who had spent years caring for Mrs. Schiavo.

The taste of burning bone (912 words)

I’ve been a bad, bad boy and haven’t been to the dentist in many, many moons. So finally I managed to make a hole in my busy calendar† to get my pain on.

Bad Santa (36 words)

Yes! The Core Dump catches another movie! In honor of Bad Santa, I would just like to say that, indeed, it is true that “Shit happens when you party naked.“

Random observations, redux (565 words)

Since my life does not involve Cool Things That Must Be Blogged™, but I nevertheless do feel the Need to Blog, here comes yet another bunch of random observations:

The art of listening (248 words)

Andrea is a good day care child—happy to be around other children, able to stick up for herself, and in general a little ray of sunshine. But everybody has their good and their bad days, and for a little while she has been running some kind of virus or infection leading to some stomach problems and a nasty, wet cough. So she wasn’t in her best form one day, and threw a major temper tantrum.

National day (145 words)

An interesting June 6th: Of course Mac nerds all over the globe got their panties in various states of bunching by His Steveness pronouncing that the Mac will switch to Intel’s x86 platform. As for myself, anything that will get me a faster laptop is a-okay. Just hope the switch will go as smoothly as promised.

Review: The Zenith Angle (203 words)

Bruce Sterling’s The Zenith Angle is a hard-nosed and satirical look at the time during and shortly after September 11, and how the terrorist attack and its consequences change the life of a genius-level computer scientist from the lap of luxury at an Enron-like company to a cyber security specialist.

Review: Native Tongue (55 words)

Set in a Florida bulldozed by real estate developers and populated by tourists, hucksters, and white trash, Native Tongue is Carl Hiaasen at his most frantic and tongue-in-cheek funny.


Yet another redesign (89 words)

Went ahead and touched up the look of the site a bit. It’s still based on the Typo default template, but with a bit of added lickability.

Happy birthday, Andrea! (26 words)

Andrea’s third birthday

Home again, home again (139 words)

Southewst Airlines managed to once again deliver an utterly forgettable and on-time flight experience. A bit choppy air all the way from Austin to Phoenix, but then one really can’t expect the airlines to have godlike powers over the atmosphere.

At the Airport (277 words)

Sitting at Austin Bergstrom International Airport waiting for my flight back to the Center of the Sun after braving the 183 (a.k.a Construction Hell) and managing to get confused in a way worthy of a Chevy Chase movie by the fact that the 183 is called Airport Blvd. for a stretch right before the airport, but there is also the 111, which is also called Airport Blvd. but has nothing to do with the airport.

Review: Revenge of the Sith (257 words)

Whew! We dodged a bullet on this one! Revenge of the Sith is a much better movie than feared. That being said, it’s not exactly a good movie; rather, it manages to create a satisfying conclusion to Anakin’s journey to the Dark Side and ties in pretty neatly if obviously to the “real" Star Wars movies.

Checking in from Austin (165 words)

Posting from a Fairfield Inn in Austin, TX where I’m spending a week attending nerdcamp, or as it’s more formally known, System Administration using Mac OS X Server 10.3.

Transformation (92 words)

Much like wife-beater-in-training Anakin Skywalker turning into iron-lung Vader, the Flooring Project is now completed, and there is not a square inch of wall-to-wall carpet or linoleum to be found at Casa Core Dump.

Faster pussycat (36 words)

Tell me again why I pick up the excrement of these creatures every night?

Random observations (369 words)

The flooring is done, the workers have left, the house is in a state of utter disarray, and the stress of last week’s activities seems to have monkey wrenched my immune system, so I have that jiggly feeling of a fever coming on.

Acoustics (284 words)

Now, I may not be the brightest bait in the box, but one thing that’s completely blind-sided me about going from wall-to-wall carpet to laminate flooring is the acoustics. Basically, wall-to-wall carpet by its very nature is an excellent sound dampener, while laminate does very little to quiet things down.

Review: The Narrows (297 words)

Michael Connelly is one of the best contemporary crime writers, and Hieronymous Bosch is arguably his most compelling and best-drawn character, so The Narrows should have a lot going for it.

Systems are go (227 words)

Ah yes, the Evil Computer Infrastructure is back online and now seated on laminate flooring, which means that the Evil Empire is once again unencumbered by earthly constraints.

Hooboy (159 words)

There has been more drama regarding the flooring installation, which I am way too tired to retell at this point, but it looks like things are moving in the right direction. The office is now achingly close to being ready for the computing infrastructure supporting my Evil Empire to be reactivated, and we have high hopes the Laminate Adventure will be over by tomorrow night or Saturday.

Nacknammit (281 words)

Today is day two of the laminate flooring adventure, and what should we come home to but to find out that the work crew did not show up.

Blackout (199 words)

We’re having the wall-to-wall carpet in the entire house replaced with laminate flooring this week. According to the contractor, the entire house should take about six days. We are extremely excited about this—two puking cats and a toddler are not synergetic with wall-to-wall carpeting. Plus it will be infinitely easier to get rid of cat hair, dust and all the other allergenic matter that assembles, lives and flourishes in wall-to-wall carpets.

Mark ’em down (221 words)

I’m sitting here absolutely kicking myself for all the HTML I’ve written over the years without the benefit of John Gruber’s utterly useful Markdown.

Victory in Europe (53 words)

Today is the 60th anniversary of VE Day, and the BBC has a fantastic amount of information about World War II. Well worth checking out and refreshing our memories of those cataclysmic years.

There’s a new engine in town (378 words)

If you read this site in an RSS reader, you haven’t noticed anything, but if you drop in on the home page, you’ll see a brand new look for The Core Dump. The look is actually the default for a blog engine called Typo. (Yes, it’s the same as the Wordpress default.) Needless to say, the default look isn’t going to stay for long, even though it is pretty nice and mellow.

Revenge of the angry fan boy (228 words)

Rumor has it that Revenge of the Sith will be Jar-Jar free. This, more than anything else, makes me consider actually going to see it in the theater. And I seriously doubt I’m the only one to breathe a huge sigh of relief and feel A New Hope.

Your own personal drive-in (168 words)

A friend of mine enjoys personal technology to an unusual degree. He decided for some reason that using a projector to display movies on the wall inside his house just wasn’t immersive enough, and built an outdoor entertainment center.

Out with the old (139 words)

Andrea will turn three next month, and her interest in the world around us and why things are the way they are is increasing every day. One of the things she’s working on understanding is why mommy and daddy go to work and she goes to school (which is what we call day care).


Review: Broken Angels (233 words)

Broken Angels is the follow-up to Richard Morgan’s fantastic Altered Carbon [review here] and continues the story of Takeshi Kovacs.

The question is... (40 words)

Which is more sad: That you’re catching up on your feed reading at 10:30 p.m. on a Friday or that you think people are losers for commenting on a post that was made at 10:00 p.m. that same Friday evening?

All of y’all (103 words)

According to this quiz, I’ve managed to excise most of the damage done by three years in Louisiana:

All your lawn are belong to us (176 words)

After a week of Claritin detox to make sure the tests aren’t getting skewed, finally went to the allergist and got tested for 60 different allergens.

Go Speedracer (84 words)

When I was in college, I had a 1,200 Baud modem. With a 1,200 Baud modem, you literally see the text coming down the line draw on the screen, like a teletype machine.

Review: Altered Carbon (267 words)

Richard Morgan’s Altered Carbon is nothing less than the return of jacked-in, mirror-shades-at-night, in-your-face Cyberpunk.

New shininess (174 words)

The eternal quest to sink all of our disposable income into the house continues at Casa Core Dump.

Just rewards (122 words)

Mohaha! Jeremy Jaynes was sentenced to nine years in prison today for spamming. He is the first spammer to go to the Big House. This makes The Core Dump very happy indeed.

Mr. Histamine is not your friend (194 words)

The Valley of the Sun is wheezing its way through one of the worst allergy seasons on record, with the needle of the newspaper pollen count consistently pegged at eleven, and woe is me.

The all-seeing eye (54 words)

For some reason the idea of a university professor depicted as the Eye of Sauron is incredibly funny:

Review: The System of the World (177 words)

The System of the World provides a satisfying conclusion to Neal Stephenson’s epic Baroque Cycle, and manages to somehow tie together most of the strands of the huge tapestry he has woven over almost three thousand pages.

Desert rose (110 words)

As cactuses are not exactly common in Sweden, I do take a lot of pleasure in seeing them around here in the desert. The heavy rains this year have created a lot of very happy Sonoran fauna, and the denizens of my backyard are no exception:

More fun in the 100-acre wood (412 words)

As part of the eternal War on Weeds (currently in the middle of the epic Operation Die Mother-F**ker, wherein I have resorted to chemical weapons of mass destruction) taking place in my yard, I did some pretty aggressive raking underneath the brushes to get rid of dead leaves and other detritus.


Easter fun (147 words)

Chicken stickersThey had an Easter party at Andrea’s day care yesterday, and one of the parents brought in Easter baskets for all the children. The baskets had candy, plastic eggs, and the other usual Easter type stuff. They also had a couple of cute little chicken-in-egg stickers, which Andrea decided to share with me. Sharing is good.

There’s a calm in your eye (200 words)

People suffering from diabetes have to regularly monitor the blood-sugar levels in their blood, which means extracting a small quantity of blood and performing tests. But a new product promises a non-invasive means of monitoring blood sugar: contact lenses that sense glucose. How it works:

Review: A Talent for War (243 words)

Jack McDevitt’s A Talent for War is an unusual science fiction novel.

Long, cold summer (370 words)

At the tail-end of last year’s Festival of Pain (a.k.a. summer) we noticed that water was dripping from ceiling. Not a good thing. Air conditioning company was called and determined that both the pan and the coil had rusted through and were leaking.

Review: The Confusion (259 words)

The Confusion (The Baroque Cycle, Vol. 2) is yet another tour de force from Neal Stephenson. Put simply, just reading The Baroque Cycle is tiring—in an absolutely exhilarating way.

Bye bye, ET, we hardly knew ye (404 words)

For the last five years or so, I’ve had a series of machines in the house assigned to file serving duties. And since a file server has to be on all the time anyway, it makes all kinds of sense to run a distributed computing project and give some of those otherwise wasted CPU cycles to a worthy cause.

Viking summer (114 words)

Rain is once again falling on Arizona. After yet another hard day of pulling weeds, decided to fire up Ye Olde Grill and get some barbecue on. Relaxing on the patio chair and minding the grill while ground pieces of cow were carbonized into food, I realized that I felt suspiciously good, and then after a while twigged to the fact that 55 degrees Fahrenheit and rain equals only one thing for the Swedish reptile brain: Summer!


Saturday update (21 words)

Grog make fire.

Quite a lot of pain (295 words)

Been getting tired of being out of shape, and so finally bit the bullet and joined a gym. Naturally, when going in for my first session of weight lifting in way too many years, I was only too aware that there would be a price to pay.

Mad gardening skillz, yo (83 words)

Received a nastygram from the home owners association about the deplorable state of weeds in the front yard, so it was time to break out my mad gardening skillz and take care of that.

Review: Kill Bill, Vol. 2 (203 words)

I didn’t get what all the fuss was about with Kill Bill, Vol. 1, but the second volume is a very different beast. Whereas volume one, to me, was a film geek run amok, spewing insider references and showing off his technique, Kill Bill, Vol. 2 throws away most of the overloaded operatic and cartoonish stylings of the first volume and starts treating the characters as people–with some notable exceptions–and delivers a plot.

Water from sky good (48 words)

RainWe’ve had an unusually rainy winter here in the Valley of the Sun, and it just started coming down again.

Review: Quicksilver (346 words)

Whoa. Neal Stephenson’s Quicksilver is one of the most engrossing novels ever published. It is huge and sprawling, jam-packed with trivia and populated with fantastic and richly–sometimes lavishly–drawn characters.

Dagnabbit (51 words)

I knew it was going to happen sooner or later, but it still killed a little piece of my soul. Got a trackback spam on the post where I mention installing the nofollow patch.

Review: Eats, Shoots & Leaves (204 words)

Subtitled The Zero Tolerance Guide to Punctuation, Lynne Truss’s Eats, Shoots & Leaves is a funny and lighthearted romp in the fields of punctuation. While the book does go into the mechanics and history of punctuation, it’s really not a primer, but more of an opportunity for us nerds who actually care about commas and semicolons to get some validation that it’s okay to feel strongly about something that seems beneath contempt or notice for many people.

Damn their sanity (128 words)

Dammit, I had an erudite post rant all composed in my mind about the flaming idiots in Virginia who proposed a bill to fine people whose underwear was showing, and then they actually go ahead and drop the bill.

Fall ill, go bankrupt (63 words)

From the Scary Stuff department, this article at CNN talks about how half of bankruptcies are caused by serious illness. To make matters even worse, the majority of people forced to file for bankruptcy due to the costs of serious medical problems had medical insurance.

Interesting but gross (48 words)

Ran across two interesting scatological factoids recently:

Junk food and ’rithmetic (218 words)

Arizona in unfortunately one of the many states where public schools are making up for their paltry funding by peddling junk food to students. There’s a proposal being bandied about to ban this sort of merchandising and instead force schools to sell healthier alternatives, at least during school hours. (During athletic events the lid comes off, of course, since there are few more important values to instill in the leaders of tomorrow than mixed messages.)

Quicksilver (85 words)

Am currently reading Neal Stephenson’s Quicksilver (The Baroque Cycle, Vol. 1) in between bouts of fiddling with the server. Full review coming after I’m finished with it, of course, but I just can’t wait to sing its praises.


The smell of burning feeds (171 words)

Wife and daughter spent most of the day out running errands, leaving me with some free time to foolishly waste. So of course Tinkering with the Site ensued.

Starbucks density (64 words)

There’s a bit of a meme going around to check on the Starbucks density in your area. Playing is easy: Just put in your address in the handy-dandy Starbucks store locator, and see how many results you get.

Implants, dammit! (360 words)

I read Neuromancer as well as a ton of other Science Fiction at an impressionable age, and it … well … affected me. Especially Neuromancer. Holy crap. Talk about sticking your Swedish-boy-from-the-sticks unformed brain in a microwave.

Review: The Devil’s Armor (163 words)

John Marco’s The Devil’s Armor continues the story begun in The Eyes of God, (review here) taking it further along its logical progression while adding several twists and new characters.

Final (hopefully) post-mortem on the attack (177 words)

Looks like the attack is finally petering off and life is returning to normal here in the Shire.

Comb-over (15 words)

Found on rec.humor.funny:

Do not follow (61 words)

While on the crusade to keep some sanity here, went ahead and installed the nofollow plugin.

The assault continues (303 words)

The zombie assault on this domain continues unabated. We’ve managed to staunch the bleeding with some draconian firewall rules–going to have to revisit those rules later on and start letting huge chunks of the Internet back in.

"The blinking lights are killing me" (315 words)

This bucolic little neighborhood of cyberspace has been under attack from a zombie army of referrer spam computers the last few days. These machines have been hitting the site enough that it’s been groaning under the load. But that’s not the worst of it: The poor little DSL line that connects this site to the rest of the world is shared by several other sites sitting on a different computer, and a flabbergasting amount of available bandwidth has been eaten by the zombies.

Review: The Eyes of God (186 words)

John Marco’s The Eyes of God is an engrossing epic which deftly avoids most fantasy clichés and instead of the usual Trek-to-Defeat-Evil-Overlord™ features a character-driven plot mostly populated with three dimensional, flawed people.

Two sweet letters (91 words)

As the parent of a not-yet potty-trained toddler, you learn to enjoy the little things in life, such as the rush of well-being that lifts you up when you pick up the baby at day care, look at the day’s log file and see the two sweetest letters in the English language: BM.

Pigs can fly (239 words)

Looks like I’m eating crow after my bold and erroneous statement last year that Apple would not release a headless iMac. Ever.

Blog? What blog? (64 words)

Sorry about the lack of updates lately. Have been consumed with the end of The Holidays™ and of course with the requisite obsessive-compulsive behavior associated with setting up a server–groveling over log files and Googling for answers to all kinds of persnickety little technical issues.

Bass for your face (90 words)

Finally broke down and bought new speakers for the computer. After seeing some glowing reviews on CNET and Amazon, decided to go for the Logitech Z-2300s.

2005 (85 words)

Wow. Here we are then. 2005. Anno domini and all that. What with 2004 turning out to be pretty much just a kick in the balls, let’s hope 2005 will be better and that many fewer people will have absolutely horrendous things happening to them.



Tsunami (76 words)

The unfathomable suffering, grief, and pain wrought by the horrible tsunami is hard to deal with. All those people–the death toll is hitting 135,000 as I write this–whose lives ended in pain, panic, and suffering, and the millions who are coping with losing loved ones, lack of water and food, disease, and the breakdown of all the fundamentals of society is hard to understand, much less process.

You can never look back (111 words)

Way back in 1982, Don Henley released The Boys of Summer. Part of the lyrics go:

A new home for The Core Dump (169 words)

Woho! First post on the “new” server!

Happy Solstice! (272 words)

Even though the solstice was technically two days ago, we’re just one day short of Christmas Eve, which in Scandinavia is the day of Santa’s appearance and the attendant gift exchange.

Cat Blog Theatre Presents: The Visitor (221 words)

The VisitorA play in one act.

Friday catblogging redux (125 words)

It’s the triumphant return of Friday catblogging, featuring another picture of furball number one, Shiva.

Manning the barricades for apple juice (192 words)

Having a child or children in day care can be quite stressful in that you often wonder about what exactly happens during the day and what kind of values and habits are instilled in your child. While we feel very confident in the soulless corporation that is our childcare provider and the way she is being treated during the day, sometimes little things happen that, as Arsenio Hall used to say, make you go hmmm.

Review: Chindi (181 words)

Jack McDevitt’s Chindi is a return to hard science fiction, firmly based on scientific principles and a sense of wonder about the vastness of space and the phenomena happening there.

Pictures of the year (40 words)

If you have a few minutes to spend, Yahoo! News has a nice round-up of the best pictures of 2004. Some very poignant news photography in there.

Review: Neverwhere (212 words)

Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere is the story of Richard Mayhew, an ordinary man who one day finds himself wrapped up in events taking place in London Below, a sort of parallel-universe London populated with strange people and creatures, a place we know from myth.

Psst, wanna try something new? (415 words)

If you’re bored with your current diet of music and would like to try something different, may I perhaps suggest some Swedish home-made sausage?


Most awesomely bad metal song (89 words)

Just watched the end of VH1’s Most Awesomely Bad Metal Songs … Ever. And the winner was … yes! The Final Countdown, by my compatriots Europe.

The countdown has begun (136 words)

Well, technically, the madness doesn’t really begin until Friday, November 26–the feared-by-retail-staff Black Friday when an understimulated populace seeks to heal the wounds re-opened by liquor-fueled family arguments about who ruined whose life at what age by storming stores at ungodly hours–but today marks One Month Until Christmas.

Review: Hard as Nails (239 words)

Dan Simmons’s Hard as Nails is the third Joe Kurtz novel and follows along the same path trodden by Hard Freeze (review here) and Hardcase. Our antihero Joe Kurtz continues to get dragged in by Buffalo, New York mobsters and this time has to solve the problem of who keeps murdering small-time drug pushers and button men for both the warring Farina and Gonzaga families or face execution himself. To add to his problems, he has been shot in the head in an ambush that may have been directed at himself or his parole officer and thus goes through most of the story in somewhat less than stellar shape.

Review: Deathday and Earthrise (252 words)

William C. Dietz’s Deathday and Earthrise are actually one novel split off into two volumes, so they will be reviewed together here.

Throwing out the comments with the spammers (493 words)

Yup, throwing out the baby with the bath water works. No comment spams this week. Of course, if somebody out there on the Internets had been wanting to comment on something I wrote, they could not do so. But since this is a z-level blog deep enough in the mire of the Internets that almost nobody reads it, but yet mysteriously high enough on the search engines that the comment spammers find it, something had to be done.

Catblogging Friday (199 words)

The realization has been dawning on me that as the proprietor of this here fine blog, and the sucker-who-feeds-and-cleans-up after two cats, there must be pictures of cats.

Review: Guilty Pleasures (330 words)

I found Laurell K. Hamilton’s Guilty Pleasures while cruising around Amazon. There’s no way I would have bought it if I’d found it in a bookstore as it has the following ghastly blurb on the front page: “A heady mix of romance and horror.” Gag.

Review: Just for Fun (389 words)

Coauthored with David Diamond, Linus Torvalds’s autobiography Just for Fun is a slim volume that follows Torvalds on his journey from geeky kid with a large nose in Finland to Open Source-icon in California.

Review: Hard Freeze (280 words)

Hard Freeze is the follow-up to Hardcase, the first novel about former private investigator Joe Kurtz, who is just back on the streets after serving hard time in Attica for the vengeance-murders of some mob thugs.

All right, I give up (124 words)

In the immortal words of The Great Lebowski, “Fuck it, let’s go bowling.”

The IKEA experience (306 words)

Just got back from a visit to the shiny-new IKEA down the street. As expected, it was a zoo, with overflow parking at a dirt lot a short hike away from the store itself. With the crowds being what they were, we didn’t purchase any furniture and passed on the restaurant as the line looked like it would take well over half an hour just to be seated. Too bad, as we’d been looking forward to the some shrimp sandwich goodness as well, of course, as some lingonberry juice (so tasty).

Carpe Diem (143 words)

The following extract from Terry Pratchett’s Guards! Guards! almost killed me when I read it, and thus had to be shared.

Gigabit and RAID, oh my (327 words)

Finally heeded the call of the semi-conductor (can you hear it? It’s outside your window right now, calling “Buy new stuff … you know you need it … you know you need new shiny electronics … you don’t need a savings account–you need new electronics.”) Ahem.


Review: Destination: MORGUE! (378 words)

Destination: MORGUE!, like its predecessor Crime Wave is a collection of articles James Ellroy wrote for GQ Magazine together with three new novellas.

I was strong but now I am weak (80 words)

I was doing a good job of resisting the Star Wars DVD set until this weekend when we went to dinner at a friend’s house and there was no way to resist at least taking a little look.

High Fidelity (476 words)

The other day High Fidelity came on Comedy Central and I ended up breaking out the DVD in order to escape from 1) The Bowdlerizations, where “shit” becomes “shoot”; and 2) the endless freaking commercials that interrupt any movie worth watching until you can’t-stand-it-anymore-and-must-kill-squirrels.

Dirty diapers and Usama (170 words)

Andrea got a flu shot on Monday, and yesterday (Wednesday) when I picked her up from day care, the staff commented that she had been grouchy all day, and had some diarrhea.

Review: Angels and Demons (315 words)

Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons is the prequel to The Da Vinci Code (which I haven’t read, as it’s still not out in paperback.)

The first blogiversary (258 words)

Yes indeed, The Core Dump has wasted Internet resources for one full year now. Hooray!

On the road (88 words)

Somewhere in America, a pimp is desperately searching for his ride…

Review: Kill Bill, Vol. 1 (94 words)

I am no doubt the last person with indoor plumbing to see Kill Bill, Vol. 1. The buzz has been great, and pretty much everybody I know has proffered liking this movie.

Fall in the Valley of the Sun (280 words)

Wow. October 1. While the rest of the world takes out winter gear, gives the lawn the last mow of the season, puts away its patio furniture, starts thinking about snow tires, and stocks up on hot cocoa, the Valley of the Sun enjoys sub-100-degree temperatures and pleasantly cool mornings and evenings.


Taking a light saber to the wallet (118 words)

The release of the original Star Wars trilogy on DVD firmly plants my buttocks on the horns of a dilemma–Yes, I am a huge dork and I must … have … them … must … own … can’t resist, and at the same time the sheer awfulness of episodes one and two (and, with 99.99% certainty, episode three–Vader’s Menacing Dildo or whatever it’s going to be called–whenever it comes out) have utterly soured me on the whole franchise.

Review: Hard Rain (159 words)

Barry Eisler’s Hard Rain is the sequel to Rain Fall, and surpasses its very good predecessor in every way–Eisler’s writing is tighter, the plot more mature, and the abundant descriptions of Tokyo and Japanese culture even more engrossing.

Neurons flaring like a Christmas tree (138 words)

One of the great joys of parenthood is watching your child’s mind evolve from poop-eat-sleep to more and more of an individual as each day passes, with her own set of ideas, preferences, and foibles.

Review: Monstrous Regiment (236 words)

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series is a treasure. Monstrous Regiment is the latest installment, and it does not disappoint.

Mini-Review: The Waste Lands (92 words)

The Waste Lands is the third book in Stephen King’s magnum opus The Dark Tower. It is perhaps flippant to dismiss the book as, indeed, a waste, but there’s just no way around it.

Yet another sign (132 words)

In further proof that Western society is teetering perilously close to the brink, here is the opening paragraph from a piece of spam I just received:

Flashing lights in the rear-view mirror (128 words)

Every day as I and the rest of the Greater Metro Area crawl along the freeways, I’ve noticed the police have always pulled over a car or two. There they sit on the side of the road, blue lights flashing, police officer filling out paperwork, and the offending driver almost invariably on a cell phone, presumably letting people know that he or she will be late because “the #%&#$*@ cops pulled me over. Can you believe it?”


Review: The Drawing of the Three (174 words)

The Drawing of the Three is the second installment of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, and unfortunately it is not very good.

Review: The Gunslinger (349 words)

The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

Tardiness (206 words)

A new semester has dawned at the University, and one of the traditions for us crusty professors is that we get to see the previous semester’s student critiques. (For those not familiar with the tradition, college students in the US get to rate their professors and talk about what they liked and didn’t like about the class toward the end of the semester. The professor for obvious reasons doesn’t get to see these remarks until the grades have been turned in.)

The Olympics (425 words)

Have been spending a lot of time watching the Olympics over the last few days. Lots of fun, even though I must confess to utterly failing to see how some of these sports became Olympic events. Seriously, softball? Beach volley ball? Doing dumb shit in a river with a canoe?

Most clueless spammer ever? (71 words)

Most spam is dumb to the point of vexation, but to take it up a notch here is the full text of a message with the charming subject line “re: oedipal”:

A conversation with a two-year-old (71 words)

Here’s an extract of a conversation I had with Andrea after picking her up from daycare, at which point in time she is usually thirsty. It’s pertinent to the conversation that she loves orange juice.

Review: Rain Fall (247 words)

Barry Eisler’s Rain Fall is a fast-and-furious page turner, which very ably jump starts the idling cool-killer genre.

It’s a hoe-down! (107 words)

We’ve been experiencing something of a weed bonanza in the backyard, and it was time to Take Action™, so on the advice of the sprinkler guy, picked up this brilliant device:

An IKEA primer (346 words)

UPDATE: The Tempe IKEA store will open November 10.

The lowrider (96 words)

The Lowrider

Water equals money (242 words)

The irrigation system in the front lawn sprung a leak a little while ago, which got fixed. So imagine our consternation to find not one but several new leaks this week. Another call to the landscapers, and the guy comes out with his trusty shovel in tow. Five big leaks. The guy was here for three solid hours working his tail off to take care of them.

Mystery car (106 words)

One of the benefits of living on the surface of the sun is that companies come here to stress test their vehicles, so every once in a while you see interesting things on the road.

As the clock spits clicks (275 words)

Been experiencing some homesickness lately, wanting to experience the Swedish summer with its verdant greenery, endless soft light and even the interminable rain. Been wanting to sit on a cliff and watch the sun set over the ocean and other such romantic notions.


O’Reilly reboots college textbook publishing (209 words)

One of the curses of college instruction is the textbook–they tend to be expensive, and as a professor, it’s extremely hard to find one (or even several) that really mirror your course and teaching style.

There are cars for sale! (126 words)

Through the television set today, the Good News was delivered unto me: Apparently car dealers have realized that cars are expensive, and are now offering sales! Yes, it’s true!

So that’s where he went (40 words)

You know, you shave this ape and it’s indistinguishable from some co-workers I’ve endured in the past…

Caught in the web (248 words)

Had a bit of an irrigation emergency here at Casa Core Dump–a main irrigation line had sprung a leak and the water pressure was creating a small sink hole in the yard. This was shovel work. And if yard work becomes more than trowel work, it’s time to call a professional. So we called the landscaping company to send somebody out to Set Things Right.

Review: Blood Music (228 words)

Greg Bear’s Blood Music earned both the Hugo and Nebula awards, which means it should be really good.

You have been assimilated (217 words)

In yet another major leap to bring us closer to the world of Neuromancer, judicial workers in Mexico have been implanted with RFID chips. The idea is apparently to give the workers access to secure areas through the chips, but since corruption is a major problem in Mexico, there are also some thoughts to being able to track their whereabouts at all times.

Review: The Switch (85 words)

Elmore Leonard’s The Switch is one of those novels you read and ask yourself why somebody hasn’t made a movie out it yet. As usual with Leonard, the plot is tight, the characterizations vivid, and the dialogue sparkling. The man’s ear is astonishing.

Why don’t I? (299 words)

Every once in a while a thought hits: “Hey, I used to x all the time. Why don’t I do that anymore?” X in this case can be anything from hanging out in bars at all hours to poking forks in my eyeballs. Whatever you do following that thought, don’t let it be x–this is your brain exhibiting what psychologist call repression. Repression is a survival mechanism wherein your brain on purpose discards memories that are too painful to remember. Or rather, the memories are still there, but inaccessible to the conscious mind.

Review: Darwin’s Children (160 words)

Darwin’s Children continues the tale of human evolution begun in [Darwin’s Radio](*, and is a solid and compelling albeit ultimately unsatisfying sequel.

Water falling from sky... (157 words)

So scared and confused … water falling from sky … are the gods angry with the Desert Dwellers?

An old friend returns (26 words)

Hello there, haven’t seen you for a while…

Gas versus charcoal (237 words)

For a suburbanite, and especially one living in a city where home charred flesh is on the menu 13 months out of the year, the great gas versus charcoal barbecue debate is an important topic. But rest easy, for tonight I stand before you all with the final answer…

The Black Company (230 words)

I’ve just re-read Glen Cook’s Black Company series, and it struck me that somebody should option this and make an HBO mini-series out of it.

The fires of doom (119 words)

One of the summer traditions in Phoenix is unfortunately forest fires to the north of the city. At this point, the big one is called the “Willow” fire. Firefighters have set controlled burns that have expanded the size of the fire to 65,000 acres–a real monster, large enough now that the plumes are visible from downtown Phoenix 60 miles south of the fire.

That alien landscape (114 words)

Every once in a while sitting in the car stoically enduring the daily commute, Phoenix doesn’t look like a place on Earth at all–the drab shades of reddish tan everywhere, sprinkled with heroically struggling and in context much too green vegetation and the endless freeways soaring above the landscape, cutting through mile after mile of red tile roofs; freeways reserved exclusively for alien-bug looking cars swerving in and out of lanes, drifting from freeway artery to freeway artery like white blood cells searching in vain for an infection to fight.


So shiny (149 words)

The big payoff at today’s WWDC Stevenote was the long-anticipated release of new displays, including the in-your-dreams-buddy 30” monster. This means the era of the CRT is rapidly drawing to a close here at Casa Core Dump, and soon flatness will reign supreme.

The drink of pale death (162 words)

Ben Hammersley–whose blog in general is excellent–is apparently married to a Swedish woman, and has written up a great explanation of the ritualized form of drinking that takes place during a Swedish midsummer.

Midsummer’s Eve kit (240 words)

Friday the 25th of June, 2004 is Midsummer’s Eve, a time when Sweden stops and everybody gathers to eat the traditional foods, sing the traditional silly songs and play the traditional silly games. Most people will also elect to drink themselves silly.

Anti-Winter (194 words)

One of the weirdest parts of life in the Sonoran Desert is that your seasons are turned around, so that the winter half of the year is when you enjoy the weather and the summer half is when you cower inside during the day, waiting for the fierce blowtorch in the sky to disappear and let you breathe again.

Review: The Chronicles of Riddick (186 words)

The Chronicles of Riddick is one of those frustrating movies that doesn’t know what it wants to be: Am I a space epic, a dark tale, a popcorn movie, or a swashbuckler? In the end it tries to be everything to everyone and falls flat on its face.

Wintermute shall rise (104 words)

Happiness! Apple has extended its mellifluously named iBook Logic Board Repair Extension Program, and Wintermute’s serial number now puts it in the Officially Accepted Range of Machines That are Bad. Good deal. Time to bring it in to the happy elves at the local Fruitstand for some TLC.

It’s a strange web indeed (117 words)

Looking through the referrer logs for this site, came to the realization that this site is the second hit on Yahoo! search for “picture of a gorilla taking a dump”. Guess there just aren’t that many sites out there for people with somewhat unusual tastes in entertainment. Or something.

The whole nine yards (54 words)

Caught the tail end of an NPR interview with Nicholas Hobbes, author of Essential Militaria.

Terminator 3: Snore of the Machines (256 words)

Caught the first hour of T3: Rise of the Machines on HBO last night, and I have some questions for the people who wrote this thing:

Be kind to the apostrophe (199 words)

One of the scars left upon my soul by doing too much reading and writing at an early age is a proof-reader mode always stuck at eleven, which is constantly triggered by the epidemic of brutal and callous apostrophe abuse going on in the world today, even among people who should know better. Take for instance this .sig file from an email that just landed in my inbox a few seconds ago:

Cat update (53 words)

In case anybody’s been worried about Turbo and her urinary tract infection, I’m pleased to report that the Amoxycillin has worked its magic, and she now seems fully recovered–the turbo charger is once again purring.

The goddamn comment spammers (64 words)

It looks like comment spamming evolution is progressing faster and faster–from the trash I have to take out, it looks like they’re literally creating new domains to litter innocent bystanding blogs with by searching the MT-Blacklist and extrapolating from there.

EU elections and the Dark Tower (235 words)

Yesterday, Sunday the 13th of June 2004, saw the European Union member states make their elections for representatives, and it was a disaster. In most countries voter turnout was far below 50%, and in several countries, including Sweden, discontent parties saw huge gains.

US citizenship test (94 words)

The Herald-Sun is running an online sample of questions from the US citizenship test online. Served as a good reminder that I need to get off my duff and start the paperwork for my US citizenship. My greencard will expire in 2006, so it’s definitely time to get the wheels turning on this.

Review: Basket Case (114 words)

Basket Case is Carl Hiaasen in top form. The plot involves a cynical journalist, a murdered rock star, the rock star’s shallow and slutty wife, and a young editor the cynical journalist wants to save from the drudgeries of the current-day newsroom.

Further proof of the unfairness of the Universe (156 words)

Yesterday Apple released AirPort Express, which I gushed about over here. So in further proof–as if any were needed–that the Universe has it in for me, I get home to find that my lawn in the backyard is flooded. Hmm. Check the timer unit, and everything looks fine. Looks like the valve controlling the backyard is malfunctioning, though, as it keeps running water even though the timer tells it to not do that anymore. Spend some time ruminating over the possibility of troubleshooting and fixing this thing myself. After a few minutes of testosterone-induced insanity, come to my senses and realize that there’s basically no way in hell I’m going to fix whatever is broken myself.

Just a question (26 words)

If you’re in a band called “Carcass” and your current album is called “A Symphony of Sickness,” what makes you happy?

Review: Darknesses and Legacies (269 words)

L. E. Modesitt, Jr. is a machine. It’s rare to find an author who can output so much and with such a high level of quality. Darknesses and Legacies are books one and two of The Corean Chronicles, respectively, and while not as good as the Recluse series at its peak, are enjoyable and engrossing.

More metal (473 words)

Caught a piece of VH1’s The 100 Most Metal Moments last night. Lots of fun, especially since most of the moments came out of the 80s when yours truly spent a lot more time than can really be recommended ensconced in his bedroom listening to gnarly tunage like Accept, Whitesnake, Rainbow, Deep Purple, Judas Priest, and Dio. Plus a whole lot of others whose names are mercifully lost in the mists of time. It was all about rocking. Rock rock rock.

Must boil braaaaains (60 words)

Temperature in Phoenix today: 107F (41C). June 1. The annual Boiling of the Brains has truly begun. This is when we pay for our luxurious existence October through April, so we really can’t complain, but Lord knows we want to…

Feed logging in progress ... keep hands away from moving parts (295 words)

The feeds for both The Core Dump and LinkFest have been retooled so that log information streams into a MySQL database for later obsessive perusal. Hopefully there shouldn’t be any glitches… Fingers crossed, but please let me know if something’s broken all of a sudden.


The peeing of the cat (88 words)

So, $157 later we now know that Turbo does indeed have a urinary tract infection. Which means that we get to spend the next two weeks force feeding her pediatric Amoxycillin. Cooperating with the authorities when it comes to things like medicine, or for that matter anything, really, isn’t one of her strong suits, so dispensing the medicine is a two-person task.

Happy Birthday Andrea (20 words)

My name is Andrea and I am two years old today.

Review: Digital Fortress (526 words)

The Da Vinci Code has been getting a lot of good word of mouth, and it is high on The Core Dump Reading List, but alas the greedy publishers will apparently not release it in paperback until the Sun turns into a dark and stubbly ball of coal, so Digital Fortress became a stand-in. (It doesn’t make economical sense to buy a title in hardcover instead of waiting a little bit and spending the same amount of money on three paperbacks.)

This bezel would make me a happy man (78 words)

Don’t know if the pictures are legit or not, but if the new Apple Displays look like these objet de lust at Engadget when they come out, damage will most certainly be done to my credit card.

Wild kingdom (218 words)

Turbo, one of our two cats, has recently picked up the noxious habit of peeing on the couch. Fortunately it is a leather couch, so at least it’s easy to clean up.

A Scanner Darkly (188 words)

Oh please please please make this not suck: A film adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly that actually aims to be faithful to the novel.

How not to treat an Iraqi (147 words)

The June 2004 issue of Harper’s Magazine has an extract from “a handout that accompanies a weeklong course on Iraq’s customs and history given to U.S. Marines as part of their training.” The laudable idea is that by teaching Marines about local customs, relations will improve.

Another semester ended (124 words)

Posted the grades for my class yesterday, which means that another semester of higher learning has come to an end. This semester was really enjoyable, as the quality of the students was unusually high and the syllabus for the class is pretty well dialed-in, significantly lessening the stress of preparation.

Dictionary reality check (47 words)

What happened at Abu Ghraib was not abuse, it was torture. Go ahead, check the word definitions in a dictionary or why not make this easy and use abuse; torture.

The Movable Type announcement (522 words)

What with all the frothing at the mouth and brain hemorrhages caused by yesterday’s Movable Type announcement, I figured I’d better write a post about it or risk losing my blogger’s license.

Held up without a gun (33 words)

Need to fill up the car today. Am experiencing fear. Cost $24.39 to fill up the Accord last week, before the latest increases.

Review: The Paths of the Dead (261 words)

Let’s first come right out and say that I’m only halfway through The Paths of the Dead by Stephen Brust, and that is as far as I’m going to get. The novel has an interesting concept: It is written as though it is a book composed by a somewhat pompous historian living at a later date in the same world as the one where events take place. According to reviews on Amazon, it is supposed to be something of a riff on The Three Musketeers. Be that as it may–I sure can’t see it–it’s incredibly slow-moving and the ploy with the historian only succeeds in disrupting the suspension of disbelief so necessary for enjoyment of a fantasy novel.

New home for technology content (159 words)

As probably happens to most bloggers, I’ve found the experience a bit schizophrenic–do I want this blog to be more of a friends-and-family kind of intimate hangout, or do I want to attract tons of traffic, become a luminary in the blogosphere and in general be a big megalomaniac?

Sopranos weirdness (97 words)

Does anybody know what was going with the Sopranos last night? Specifically the strange slo-mo followed by a wipe that followed Carmela’s talking to her (former?) lover at the school?

The Second Coming (189 words)

Regarding the current events in Iraq, it is impossible to match the eloquence of this poem, written in 1921:

Getting a headache at work (59 words)

You know what it’s like to come home from work with a splitting headache? Here’s somebody who’s got you beat:

Nic’s ignorance further revealed (139 words)

Ben Hammersley does a great job of further revealing the depth of the miserable ignorance in which I dwell by his great post on Petrarch. Wow. I honestly didn’t know that somebody is credited with inventing the sonnet–always assumed it was one of those forms that sort of bubbled up over time.

It’s time for bloooood (284 words)

Watched Underworld the other night, and it’s a pretty enjoyable and shamelessly Matrix-inspired romp, complete with decadent Louis XIV-style vampires. Can’t have a good vampire scene without some languid decadence.

RIP J. Maynard Smith (23 words)

In sad news, Dr. Maynard Smith has passed away at age 84. His contributions to our understanding of evolution cannot be overstated.

Welcome new members (100 words)

Today the European Union went from 15 member countries to 25, and with a new combined population of 455 million people stands as the world’s largest trading bloc.


Verily, he speaketh the truth (21 words)

“Someday we’ll look back on this moment and plow into a parked car.”

The Coors brew master (42 words)

Driving home today, heard an ad on the radio that referenced the “Coor brew masters.” Isn’t that an oxymoron?

Phantom publicist hyping dead musician (92 words)

In further proof that our existence in the Western World is now completely post-modern comes this little nugget from Rolling Stone, which I just can’t decide whether to believe or not. The story defies summarizing and must be read in its entirety for the full po-mo vertigo effect.

Offshoring bullseye painted on Phoenix (71 words)

In more happy IT news, The Arizona Republic ran a scary article yesterday about how the tech industry in Phoenix is extremely vulnerable to offshoring. According to the article, the main reason is that most of Phoenix’s high-tech industry consists of back office work, mostly drawn here due to lower costs than California.

Crane dance (49 words)

Looks like Spring has finally arrived in Sweden. The crane dance is always a nice spectacle, and the arrival of the birds means the end of the long winter.

What’s that clicking noise? (236 words)

Attention greater Phoenix area motorists: You know that little stick that protrudes from the left side of your steering column? Turns out that if you push it down or up, it makes a kind of clicking noise. Interesting, huh? But the purpose of the stick actually isn’t to make that clicking noise.

Now I’m feeling zombified (80 words)

Newsflash: Allergies suck. You heard it here first. We’re going through an absolute monster of an allergy season in the Valley of the Sun, and I’m getting extremely tired of wanting to scratch my eyeballs out.

AT&T no more (192 words)

After the “upgrade” fiasco, decided to not spend any more time and aggravation dealing with AT&T, and am now with T-Mobile. So new phone, better coverage, more minutes and less money. Guess it’s good in a way that AT&T’s “upgrade” program gave me the impetus to make the switch.

Stay out of the water (95 words)

In further proof that evolution can yield some seriously spooky creatures, we bring you the candiru, a.k.a. the ‘vampire fish.’ This little happy camper from the Amazon lives as the name implies of blood, and can swim up your urethra to insert spikes in your bladder. Unfortunately there is no oxygen in the human bladder, so it dies while lodged in there. Unless you get surgical help very quickly indeed, you will die in searing agony.

The Council of Elrond (21 words)

Caught this at Jeff Hume’s blog and it cracked me up:

Tim O’Reilly on the fuss about Gmail and privacy (305 words)

Great article by Tim O’Reilly about why the knee-jerk privacy concerns about Google’s Gmail service miss the point.

Taking the red pill again (74 words)

Ah yes, the spirit is as weak as the flesh … couldn’t resist picking up the DVD of Matrix Revolutions on the way home today, despite being so awfully disappointed by the theatrical showing. The purchase can sort of be justified by the pretty delectable-looking extras included, but basically it’s all about the eye candy.

The right to profanity (140 words)

Jeff Jarvis’s Buzzmachine is on a roll–his post about the right to profanity is dead on.

What is journalism? (494 words)

Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine raises some interesting questions about journalism.

A new name for syndication (115 words)

Jason Kottke has an interesting post on why we should stop calling RSS feeds syndication, since syndication strictly speaking means that content goes from one mass media outlet to another before landing on the audience’s doorstep. This is very true.

One lousy Christmas (61 words)

Apple, Apple, Apple … We wait with baited breaths and loaded credit cards, and what falls out of the chimney but a speed bumped eMac? Sounds like a pretty good package for the price, but seriously? Remember all the smack Steve was talking about 3GHz G5s by Summer 2004? Remember the creaky-old display bezel design?

Review: Pattern Recognition (214 words)

Pattern Recognition is William Gibson’s first novel set in the present, and is also his most vital work since he burst on the scene with Neuromancer. Pattern Recognition sports all of Gibson’s usual obsessions as well as some new ones, like the impact The Day the Towers Fell has on contemporary society.

The ominous sound of drums (157 words)

Caught this on rec.humor.funny.reruns, and got a chuckle out of it:

Review: The Banned and the Banished (431 words)

The Banned and the Banished is a five-novel fantasy cycle by James Clemens, and consists of Wit’ch Fire, Wit’ch Storm, Wit’ch War, Wit’ch Gate, and Wit’ch Star. No, those aren’t typos; in The Banned and the Banished, a witch is a wit’ch, a dwarf is a dw’arf, an ogre is an og’re, etc. Which gets really old really fast. One can only guess why Clemens decided to pursue that particular strategy, but it doesn’t work. Still, after a while the eye stops seeing the apostrophes, and it stops hurting quite so much, which is a bl’essing.

Micro-review: Tungsten T2 (7 words)

Too much the sexy.

Utterly conspicuous computers (83 words)

Speaking of computer design, if you happen to be sitting on a huge pile of money you don’t know what to do with, AVA Computers will be more than happy to help lighten your load.

Lust for life (43 words)

Am I the only disturbed by the use of Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life in ads for a freaking cruise line? Not to mention The Smiths hawking econo-cars and Led Zeppelin shockingly and disgustingly providing the soundtrack for Cadillac ads.

Apple’s vision thing (47 words)

Joe has a thoughtful post on his blog about Apple’s (or Jobs’s, rather) Vision and how that Vision can get in the way of the kinds of products that could help Apple get into the enterprise space. And good posts deserve Google juice, so here goes.

FrankenPod now 20% cheaper (165 words)

According to Forbes, Dell has cut the price of its Dell DJ iPod-wannabe by 20%. According to analysts, this does not in any way reflect poor sales, and the FrankenPod has actually “taken a nice part of the market.”

Zero Install: The solution to dependency hell? (140 words)

Zero install looks like it could be really interesting. Anything that can get Linux away from the current dependency hell should be applauded and the authors rewarded with many earthly riches.

Bloglines impressions (145 words)

Been finding myself going between computers a lot lately, which makes NetNewsWire less excellent for checking RSS feeds, and so decided to give Bloglines a test.

Die, April Fool’s, die, die (43 words)

it’s not freaking funny, ok? Having to parse everything for stupid “funny” news is annoying to no end.

The cow goes moo (548 words)

Gateway has finally bowed to inevitability and closed its retail stores. This while Apple continues to roll out new stores at a good clip.

Maybe the music’s just lousy? (351 words)

Yet another article in Wired News about a study suggesting that music downloads aren’t affecting record sales all that much. The article suggests that perhaps people aren’t buying that much music anymore since not very much good music is being released these days.


Mullet sighting (165 words)

Picking up the baby at daycare today, saw another father fetching his offspring from storage sporting the baddest completely non-ironic mullet I’ve ever seen. The important part here is the non-ironic. This was a full-on, circa 1985 Alabama prime mullet. The gentleman was otherwise dressed in business casual, with khaki slacks and a golf shirt.

Review: The Apocalypse Watch (160 words)

Published in 1995, The Apocalypse Watch is one of Robert Ludlum’s later works, and it shows. Ludlum is tired. Nevertheless, he puts together a fast-moving plot with the usual twists and turns, and manages to turn in a solid effort. It’s far from earlier books like the inimitable Bourne Identity, but for fast-moving escapism, Ludlum’s still got it.

You know you’ve been in Sweden too long when... (482 words)

Got a couple of giggles from this You know you’ve been in Sweden too long checklist. Of course I’m coming at it from the opposite side, looking more at things I’ve forgotten about Swedish society and the adjustments I’ve made to American culture. And yes, being able to write the phrase “American culture” without any hint of sarcasm or denigration means I’ve been in-country for a long time.

File under WTF? (78 words)

This is too stupid to believe, but according to CNN, it actually happened: A psychic gets a feeling there’s a bomb on a plane and the flight is cancelled and the plane searched.

Say hello to the 21st Bagel (58 words)

Yes indeed, to cap off another week, a new version of Bagel, melodiously dubbed Bagel.U.

Money maps (113 words)

In an awesome display of the power of freedom of information and massive database crunching, displays contributions to political parties sorted by area and searchable by neighborhood. It even lets you search for contributions by name.

DRM is bad, mmkay? (181 words)

Cory Doctorow has a good writeup over at the awesomely cool Boing Boing about his troubles with iTunes Digital Resource Management (DRM).

Some command line discipline (38 words)

Wow, this monstrosity from Simon Willison actually works! He’s my new command line hero. (You can never have too many command line heroes.)

CSS tweak (255 words)

Tweaked around with the CSS file for this site a bit. Looks a little bit tighter now, methinks, although these tweaks are just a stop-gap.

Mac OS X turns three (260 words)

March 24, 2004 is the third birthday of Mac OS X, not counting betas. Ars.Technica is celebrating with a somewhat obsessive-compulsive recap of three years of OS X. Good read–relive the madness of DVD playing on 10.0! Hard to believe it’s only been three years; seems like the pinstripes have been around forever.With 10.3, Mac OS X really came in to its own–there are few obvious improvements to make at this point. But nevertheless, as the faithful eagerly await the release of 10.4, here are a couple of suggestions for said release:- Make FTP in the Finder actually work and let me upload files to servers

MT-Blacklist is large and in charge (125 words)

While not particularly voluminous, the comment spam on this blog is nevertheless incredibly annoying. Having some random asshole come in and graffiti his moronic bullshit really really really sucks and conspires to drain the joy out of the blogging experience. So it was time to go on the offensive, and this blog is now protected by Jay Allen’s MT-Blacklist. A huge thank-you to Jay for creating and sharing this software.

Anna Lindh’s assassin sentenced to life in prison (116 words)

As expected, Anna Lindh’s assassin was sentenced to life in prison today. This is the most serious penalty in the Swedish judicial system, and in effect means he will be released in about 15-20 years.

The way you make me feel (168 words)

Watching We Are the Eighties on VH1 Classic and on comes the video for Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel.” Haven’t seen that particular piece of visual artistry since around the time it came out.

NPR pledge drive (119 words)

Dave Winer is talking about wanting more transparency from NPR regarding the distribution of pledge drive money, and it’s a very reasonable request. I like giving money to my local NPR station–it’s an oasis of quality and sanity in the radio landscape–but would really like to know how the pledge money is distributed.

Very nice wallpaper (18 words)

In the interminable Quest for the Perfect Wallpaper, ran across this site, which has some excellent specimens.

Visual Equinox++ (17 words)

Here’s what Sunclock thinks the equinox looks like:

Review: The Grand Crusade (169 words)

The Grand Crusade_ is the third and final installment of Michael Stackpole’s _DragonCrown Cycle, and the series goes out with a bang.

Machine politics (210 words)

Wired news has a section dedicated to the trials and tribulations of e-voting and the attempts to upgrade the US ballot system.

Thoughts on a really bad movie (1023 words)

Decided to veg out last night and watch a movie, and came across the Vin Diesel vehicle A Man Apart. Vaguely recalled that the reviews had been so-so but not completely terrible, and so decided to watch it. The reviews should have been horrible for this stinker.

Download like the wind, little friend (68 words)

There are days when you have to love your cable modem…Download like the wind

Blogger’s dilemma (143 words)

Jeff Jarvis over at Buzzmachine has an interesting post about push-back he’s getting from readers about his stance on the Howard Stern/free speech issue.

Spammers show creativity (76 words)

Great post on The Old New Thing about spammers getting around image-based challenge-response systems by letting dupes view free pr0n. Also talks about the new Evil of password-protected zip files bearing virus payloads.

AT&T upgrade open letter (68 words)

Received an email from Ken Wistrand, who is collecting signatures for an open letter to AT&T regarding their T68i to T226 “upgrade” program.

RSS making the mainstream (125 words)

CNN’s Technology section has a nice albeit breezy article about the emergence of news aggregators, aka feed readers, aka news readers, aka RSS readers.

Happy birthday to the Power Mac (48 words)

According to The Register, March 14, 1994 saw the birth of the esteemable Power Mac line, Apple’s shift from the 680x0 line of processors to the PowerPC 60x line of hot metal.

Windtunnels and ambient temperature (106 words)

The weather is warming up here in the desert, and with it the ambient temperature in my study. Monolith, a dual-gig windtunnel, reflects the changes in room temperature through its fan noise. It’s enough to make you think that a person with a sensitive enough ear could discern the ambient temperature just by listening to the pitch of the fan noise from this machine.

Old-school Internet (958 words)

We’ve begun the HTML portion of my class, which starts out with a short lecture on the history of the Internet and a non-technical overview of how it works. This made me think back on how I first got on the Internet way back in the dark days of 1990, and what things were like back then. Thought I’d post some of those recollections up here, if for no other reason than to show the young whippersnappers how deep the snow was in those days and how it was uphill both to and from school, etc.

Even more AT&T upgrade (283 words)

Yup, still obsessing about the AT&T “valued customer” “upgrade” from a T68i (Mercedes) to a T226 (Yugo). Called AT&T yesterday and talked to a pretty stressed-out customer service rep. Basically the script as of yesterday is (paraphrasing here): “We sent you the T226 to enable you to get access to all of our fabulous new technologies, but you don’t have to use it. You can still use the T68i, but you won’t get the new technologies.”

Terror in Spain (24 words)

I’m utterly appalled and disgusted by the terror bombings in Madrid. Can’t really find any other words for something so terrible and egregious.

Feeding frenzy (138 words)

The Daily Show has long been one of the best programs on television, and has gleefully stabbed needles in many a media balloon. Their take on the bizarre and macabre media feeding frenzy to be the first to report the verdict in the Martha Stewart trial is at once hysterically funny and immensely sobering for anybody working in the media.

One ... million ... dollars (103 words)

It’s hard to say whether one should applaud the sheer gall or bemoan the complete and utter lack of common sense of the woman who tried to pass off a $1 million bill at a Wal-Mart. [The link has pictures of the bill in question.]

More on the AT&T upgrade (219 words)

Wired has picked up on the AT&T phone “upgrade” program. Not much new in the article, but it’s good to see it getting more play.

Anna Lindh’s killer found mentally competent (119 words)

Mijailo Mijailovic, who has plead guilty to the murder of Swedish foreign minister Anna Lindh, has been found sane by a panel of psychiatrists. [Link is in Swedish.] The psyciatric evaluation lasted six weeks.

Slashdot on the AT&T phone upgrade (54 words)

Slashdot has picked up on the AT&T phone “upgrade.” Let’s hope enough angry nerds will harass them that they’ll rethink the whole exercise.

Fuhgedaboutit (151 words)

The Sopranos kicked off the new season last night, and it looks like they are going to keep the pressure on. The first episode was a little bit slow and more of a harbinger of plot lines to come, but worked really well to pull viewers back into the Sopranos universe after their long absence.

iPod minis selling like hotcakes (261 words)

There were a lot of misunderstandings and plenty of doom and gloom whining when Apple announced the iPod minis. They were too expensive; they had too little storage space; they couldn’t compete with flash-based mp3 players in the same price range. The Core Dump predicted the little things would sell well.

A trip down memory lane (243 words)

Apple has updated their list of vintage and obsolete products. Man, that takes me back.

Bring your flippers to Mars (59 words)

Sure, this is already all over the Net, but it’s still the kind of news that makes The Core Dump all tingly inside: NASA has found evidence that there was once flowing water on Mars. Now we’re just waiting for evidence that some form of life once existed there.

RepKover bindings are back (49 words)

Great news for nerds: O’Reilly is bringing back RepKover (aka lay-flat) bindings to all their titles that aren’t too thin or too thick for the process.

Guessing that email address (95 words)

Great reaction on Techdirt about a Wired article on the Direct Marketing Association releasing new guidelines endorsing “a controversial practice that allows businesses to track down customers’ e-mail addresses without explicitly asking for them.” Yes, that’s right, you buy something from a company, make the choice to not give them your email address, and it is now fully within the DMA guidelines for them to attempt to guess your email address to send you spam.

Internet users create content (195 words)

According to a study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, “44% of Internet users have created content for the online world through building or posting to Web sites, creating blogs, and sharing files.”

The number of the Passion (41 words)

Too much the funny: A movie theater in Rome, GA is using the numeric code 666 for Mel Gibson’s gore fest.


More on the AT&T upgrade phone (209 words)

Last week us “valued customers” received our free “no strings attached” upgrade message from AT&T that they’re sending us “valued customers” an “upgrade” phone, so that instead of suffering through using the T68i we can enjoy life with a T226 which lacks essentially all the good features of the T68i, for which we paid through the nose at point of purchase.

Review: Lost Light (109 words)

Lost Light sees Michael Connelly at the top of his form. Harry Bosch is in retirement when he gets the opportunity to follow up on one of his old unsolved cases, taking him into an extremely well-plotted and dense mystery.

Subversion looks good (314 words)

I’ve been using CVS for my version control needs for a long time, and have sucked up the sometimes byzantine machinations CVS forces you to go through. This mostly due to the fact that CVS is The Standard. CVS is everywhere and it’s the first source code management system that gets integrated into various tools.

The Word 6.0 nightmare (274 words)

Back in the day, the best word processor on the market was Microsoft Word 5 for the Mac. It was sleek, it was fast, it was loaded with useful features, and it was infinitely customizable. Brilliant. Until OS X came out, relegating Word 5 to the Classic ghetto, it was my weapon of choice for word processing.

Yardie II (60 words)

BiomassAll right, the yard is done. A lot of work, but it is now officially not a jungle anymore. Will look great once things grow out a little bit–it’s a bit post-nuclear right now. Yes indeed, went seriously medieval on some of those plants.

Yardie (41 words)

Yard work day today. Lots and lots of biomass removed from yard. Feels good to do some physical labor instead of staring at a monitor all day. Gorgeous day for it, too. Partly cloudy with a perfect temperature for being outside.

Review: Chasing the Dime (158 words)

Michael Connelly’s Chasing the Dime is the story of scientist and entrepreneur Henry Pierce and how he gets involved in a Nefarious Scheme. As usual with Connelly, the prose is clear and powerful, the cast of characters well-developed, and the plotting tight.

This is an upgrade? (134 words)

Just got a nice card from my good friends at AT&T, who want to upgrade my T68i to a T226 for free. Free! I tell you, free! Now, as I’m not in the market for a cell phone, being quite happy with the now-apparently-creaky T68i, I haven’t been keeping up with the advances in the technology. So I imagined that the T226 would be feature-compatible with the T68i. Bzzzt. Thanks for playing.

We don’t support that (66 words)

Achingly true tell-all article in Salon about the miserable hell that is technical phone support. [Reading full article requires sitting through soul-stealing interstitial ad.]

Review: Permission to Land (157 words)

I was a big metal head in high school, and still sometimes revert back to the Old School stuff, like Judas Priest, Dio, Accept, and others of that ilk, especially in the car. But the scene has changed since then, and most “modern” heavy metal leaves me completely cold–too many tattoos, too little musicianship, and above all else too little fun. Metal is supposed to be about being horny, dumb, and pissed off, dammit. And if there’s a dragon or two in there, that’s cool too. And now, finally, The Darkness has arrived with Permission to Land [Link opens in iTunes]. Yes, yes, yes, this is what it’s all about. Crunchy gee-tars, falsetto singing and embarrassing lyrics like:Can’t explain all the feelingsthat you’re making me feelMy heart’s in overdriveand you’re behind the steering wheelFricking brilliant is what that is. So break out the spandex, crack open a lager, and turn it up to eleven. Permission granted!

Barely a yankee (37 words)

Fun quiz to determine whether you have a Yankee or Dixie dialect.

The BSDs have it as secure servers (80 words)

A study by security firm mi2g auditing “17.074 successful digital attacks against servers and networks” finds that Linux is the most breached server operating system, while BSD and Mac OS X Server suffered the fewest intrusions. The article does not clarify what is meant by “BSD”–FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, or all of the above?

William Gibson interview (630 words)

Interesting but short interview with William Gibson at The Philadelphia Enquirer. [Edit Sept. 26, 2013: Like most newspapers, the Philly Enquirer breaks links with wild abandon, so this one no longer works.]

Ads in RSS (102 words)

First sighting of ads in RSS comes to us courtesy of MacMinute’s RSS feed. It’s a text-only small footer for WWDC 2004. Not bad at all, really, especially since it’s a text-only ad which doesn’t increase bandwidth usage all that much.

More on ApplePMU::PMU Forced Shutdown (151 words)

Still getting a trickle of hits from people googling for info on the ApplePMU::PMU Forced Shutdown message that sometimes shows up during a single-user boot of a Mac OS X system.

Dumb GUI awards winner (174 words)

Since we’re paying the .Mac tax here at The Core Dump anyway, and Virex is one of the benefits Apple gives us, every once in a while the spirit will move us to run Virex on our files. This despite being pretty gosh-dang sure we don’t have a virus, what with living on a Mac. But what the heck, Virex is ours due to the aforementioned .Mac tax, so why not run it when the computer isn’t busy doing other things? One can never be too thin, too rich, or too paranoid.

Blogging about blogging (694 words)

Blogging has been gaining visibility in business lately with prominent coverage at both ETech 2004 and DEMO 2004. Naturally the blogosphere (especially the bloggers speaking at and attending the conferences) have been talking a lot about blogging as well. This page provides a good starting point for blog coverage of ETech 2004, and this eWeek article has a good summary of the goings-on at the first day of DEMO 2004.

John Kerry--referrer spammer (29 words)

Been getting some referrer spam from the John Kerry for President blog. Not cool, guys, not cool at all.

See download speed in Safari (82 words)

One major annoyance in the latest version of Safari (v125) is that the download window shows time remaining for the download instead of the connection speed. And we simply must see the download speed…

Welcome MacSurfer visitors (36 words)

My post about why Apple will not release a headless iMac got picked up by MacSurfer. Excellent.

The carrot and the stick (376 words)

There was a thread on a mailing list where a person was complaining about slow turn around on tech support emails from a certain company which shall remain nameless here. This response is pretty intriguing:A friend of mine who works on the web team was complaining he wasn’t gettingany bonuses because he takes the support tickets in the order they are generated. Apparently most techs farm through and pick the easy tickets to bring their numbers up (for cash bonuses), and leave the more difficult or time-consuming request for other people. Basically, if it isn’t a 5 second fix it’s gonna sit there awhile.Nice to see that the cash bonuses are generating a true team spirit, isn’t it?This kind of system where a non-appropriate metric is put in place is also why when calling certain companies’ tech support lines you’ll be “accidentally” disconnected a lot. The techs are gauged based on their average call times, so by “accidentally” being disconnected from the caller, the techs will bring down their call times and thus look better to their managers.The only true way to gauge the performance of support techs is to pour over the call or email logs to find out which issues they were facing and how they solved them. But that’s qualitative research, which doesn’t break down into nice charts in PowerPoint, and further requires that the managers know how to do the jobs of the people they are supervising. Qualitative research like that is also very time consuming.So companies will keep using artificial quantitative metrics which break down nicely into charts and reports. Sure, they’re measuring the wrong thing, but look at that chart! Woohoo! Call times are down 14%! The team rocks!Incidentally, if you find that you keep getting “accidentally” disconnected no matter which company you’re calling, it’s because you’re a complete pain in the neck, and the techs are “accidentally” disconnecting you hoping you’ll call back again and get another tech out of the pool. This way they can live in the hope that they won’t have to deal with you any more. Of course you’ll be even more of a pain in the neck after being disconnected, but that’s hardly a problem for the tech who disconnected you, now is it?

Virginia Tech G5s on sale (48 words)

MacMall is selling the G5s coming off the Virginia Tech cluster to make room for Xserves. If I were in the market for a new machine, it would be tempting to own a piece of this history.

Die Windows Update, die, die, die (142 words)

After the latest oopsie revelations from Microsoft, I spent some quality time with Windows Update. Did monkeys design this thing? I’m too disgusted right now to get into a play-by-play of the brainlessness of this foul fiend from the abyss, but suffice it to say that it stands as a stellar example of creating an app that lets the user perform the task, yet at the same time manages to make it as convoluted and non-intuitive as possible.

Headless iMac: When pigs fly (316 words)

Alex Salkever in his latest Byte of the Apple column, discusses the slowing sales of iMacs. His recommendation: Sell a headless iMac so that people can marry the iMac with their own choice of monitor. This will presumably make the iMac more price-competitive with PCs.

The chicken or the egg (74 words)

Lately it seems that either the junk filter in is getting seriously more stupid, or the spammers are getting smarter. While it still flags most junk, some really obvious spams (to a human) sneak past its tiny robo-brain.

It’s about freaking time (125 words)

The greedy scumsuckers at Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox have finally announced that a “boxed set of the original Star Wars trilogy” will be released on DVD in September. Of course it will be the remixes, not the originals, which makes me a bit disappointed. Not that I hate the remixes, but dammit, the originals were the ones that totally and completely blew me away back in the day, and cranking up the special effects really didn’t do that much for the movies as movies. It was okay that some of the original special effects were starting to show their age. Those were the movies I remembered.

Top 10 reasons to not shop online (195 words)

Another great article on Ask Tog discussing the various flaws in online ordering systems and how those flaws can keep customers away.

Keep watching the stars (153 words)

Oh, happy day. My SETI crunching has reached 3,000 completed work units.Seti 3,000 work unitsMy SETI experience started on a PII 400, which was acting as a Linux file server and firewall/router back in the day, then moved to its present home on Temeryx, my current file and database server. Temeryx is a G4/450, which has been sitting quietly in the corner under my desk munching on work units without any problems for several years.SETI has gone out of vogue a bit, what with other worthy causes competing for spare cycles, but being a huge Sci-Fi nerd, it’s near and dear to my heart.On this topic, if you have a box that sits on all day wasting cycles, please sign up for one of the projects out there and do something good for humanity with your otherwise unused processing power.Music: “The Thin Wall” by Ultravox [Opens in iTunes]

A quick comparison of Gnome and KDE (233 words)

With the Fink people making it easy (for some definition of easy) to get both Gnome and KDE installed on Mac OS X, here are some random thoughts about using them.- Gnome feels faster than KDE, both for launching the environment and for launching apps.

Keeping your GUI street (132 words)

The folks at Unsanity have announced the winners of their theming contest. Yikes. Seeing those screenshots makes you appreciate how great Aqua actually looks. Not that the themes on the page are hideous or anything, but when compared with the One True GUI, they really don’t hold a candle.

Spammer shows creativity (67 words)

OK, bonus points for creativity for the spammer who sent the email with the subject title “Re: maynard embroil.” At first glance, it seemed like a dictionary randomizer came up with that little piece of weirdness, but maynard isn’t in the dictionary, so perhaps it’s actually a demented person on the other end?

KOffice fails install (104 words)

Yes, we’re 24 hours in, and the KDE install saga is still ongoing. Doing huge builds like this really makes you appreciate how smoothly the multitasking in OS X works. Especially on a dual-processor machine, you hardly feel the machine load at all while doing other things on the system as Fink works.

Fink goes defeatist (133 words)

Fink, cool as it is, has a definite defeatist attitude. After a certain number of source downloads have failed, forcing you to “Retry using another mirror,” “Retry using next mirror set,” and those kinds of things, it goes into what can only be called Defeatist Mode. As soon as a download fails, the default answer becomes “Give up.”

Stress test that rig (300 words)

Just when it seemed safe to use Gnome, Ranger Rick announces the fruits of his labors to port KDE over to the Mac. It’s Saturday, so what the heck, let’s paint the town red, right?fink install bundle-kde-ssl produces the following output:The following package will be installed or updated:bundle-kde-sslThe following 228 additional packages will be installed:amor ark arts arts-dev arts-shlibs atlantik automake1.6 automake1.8 cervisia dcoprss docbook-bundle docbook-dsssl-ldp ekg-ssl ekg-ssl-shlibs flashkard flex-devel fribidi fribidi-dev fribidi-shlibs glut glut-shlibs gnupg help2man imagemagick kaddressbook kalarm kalzium kandy kapptemplate karbon karm kasteroids katomic kbabel kbackgammon kbattleship kblackbox kbounce kbruch kbugbuster kcachegrind kcalc kcharselect kchart kcoloredit kde-extra-screensavers kde-extra-sounds kde-extra-themes kde-extra-wallpapers kde-icons-classic kde-icons-ikons kde-icons-kids kde-icons-locolor kde-icons-slick kde-icons-technical kde-kfile-image-plugins kde-panel-eyes kde-panel-fifteen kde-panel-worldwatch kdeaccounts-plugin kdeartwork3 kdeartwork3-base kdebase3-ssl kdebase3-ssl-dev kdebase3-ssl-shlibs kdeedu3 kdeedu3-base kdeedu3-common kdegames3 kdegames3-base kdegames3-common kdegraphics3 kdegraphics3-base kdelibs3-ssl kdelibs3-ssl-dev kdelibs3-ssl-shlibs kdenetwork3 kdenetwork3-base kdenetwork3-misc kdepasswd kdepim3 kdepim3-base kdepim3-common kdesdk3 kdesdk3-base kdesdk3-extra-kfile-plugins kdesdk3-scripts kdessh kdetoys3 kdetoys3-base kdeutils3 kdeutils3-base kdf kdvi kedit keduca kenolaba kfax kfloppy kformula kfouleggs kgamma kget kghostview kgoldrunner khangman khexedit kiconedit kig kiten kivio kjots kjumpingcube klettres klickety klines kmahjongg kmail kmessedwords kmines kmoon kmplot kmrml knewsticker knode knotes kodo koffice koffice-base koffice-common kolf kompare konquest kontact kooka kopete korganizer korn kpaint kpat kpdf kpercentage kpf kpilot kpoker kpovmodeler kpresenter krdc kregexpeditor kreversi krfb kruler ksame kshisen ksim ksirc ksirtet ksmiletris ksnake ksnapshot ksokoban kspaceduel kspread kspy kstars ksvg ksync ktalk kteatime ktimer ktnef ktouch ktron ktuberling ktux kugar kuickshow kuiviewer kverbos kview kvoctrain kwalletmanager kweather kwikdisk kwin4 kword kworldclock kworldclock-maps lesstif lesstif-shlibs libcapsinetwork libcapsinetwork-dev libidn libidn-shlibs libmal libmal-shlibs libmath++ libmath++-dev libusb libusb-shlibs lisa lskat net-snmp-ssl-dev openmotif3 openmotif3-shlibs openslp-ssl-dev openslp-ssl-shlibs openssl097 pcre pcre-bin pcre-shlibs pilot-link9 pilot-link9-shlibs poxml qt3 qt3-designer qt3-doc qt3-linguist qt3-shlibs quanta sane-backends sane-backends-shlibs scheck umbrello wv2 wv2-shlibs xfontpath xpdfDo you want to continue? [Y/n]Do you feel lucky, punk? Well, do you?Music: Stream from Secret Agent.

The scary mug shot (73 words)

Trawling around the Internet reading people’s blogs and magazine columns, it struck me that it’s always nice to see a picture of the miscreant who’s responsible for whatever it is I’m reading. Guess it’s some kind of deep-seated instinct to put a face together with the voice.

We can see you (265 words)

In yet more fallout from the Great Super Bowl Boobie Incident, TiVo subscribers are now becoming hip to the fact that their little TV best friends are constantly ratting out their viewing habits by transmitting everything that particular subscriber watches back to the mothership, where that information is, obviously, pure crack for TV marketers.

Lucida is fabulous (146 words)

My latest font obsession came from the strangest of places–the system menu. Mac OS X uses Lucida Grande for its menus, and the font has been growing on me for a long time, until at this point it is hands-down my preferred font for any kind of text consumption or creation.

Teeth red, not blue (173 words)

A new version of Bluetooth showed up today in the little font of happiness Apple calls Software Update. After applying it, your conforming computer can use Bluetooth headsets and print to Bluetooth printers. This is very nice. But it’s not what I wanted.

Geeks with torches and pitchforks (469 words)

Fun article in the Gray Lady (free registration required) about how geeks are becoming increasingly frustrated with, ahem, naive users spreading viruses and trojans by their refusal to use the most basic forms of common sense in their computing, and then calling on their geek friends to help save them from the ensuing chaos.

Email that photo (150 words)

One of my favorite things on the Internet is network edge applications. That is, when a web site aggregates data from its users and does interesting things with it. Found a new one today, which might have been out there for a while but slipped below my radar: Most emailed photos.

Building a GNU autoconf static library (79 words)

[Putting this up here so I can find it for future reference.]To build a GNU autoconf-based tool into a static library on Mac OS X:./configure –disable-shared –enable-static(add –prefix=/wherever/you/want to install in a non-standard location)sudo make install (You obviously don’t have to sudo if you’re installing into a directory your user has privileges for.)Note that SmartyPants is turning double-hyphens into em-dashes. Be careful if you copy and paste.This will build a static library for easy inclusion into interesting Xcode projects.

Das boob (153 words)

Unless you’ve been living in a spider hole for the last few days, you’ve been inundated with the fallout from the Great Super Bowl Boobie Incident (GSBBI). A couple of things are very interesting about GSBBI:1. Janet is apparently working nights as Locutus of Borg. That is one wicked-looking implant she’s got going on right there. You go girl.Locutus of Borg

Snorting Cocoa (49 words)

Spending some time tonight getting my hands dirty with Cocoa. Takes some time to change your habits from Java and Python, especially when it comes to memory management.

The first Unix virus (51 words)

Just saw this in my inbox and thought it was kind of cute:

Boohbah ... Boohbah (101 words)

There was an exciting change in the lineup of children’s programming at PBS a few weeks ago, when the Teletubbies were moved from their oh-seven-hundred hours slot and were replaced by Boohbah. If you think the Teletubbies were trippy, you’re in for a surprise. As an adult operating in pre-caffeine mode, this show can seriously leave you slack-jawed and drooling. There’s no way this can be anything but a huge hit with the dorm room stoner crowd.

The pain, the pain (279 words)

All the cool kids are doing linkblogs these days, and it seems like a pretty good idea to me, so I decided to create one today. Little did I know that decision would take me down a road of madness and agony…


Tinkering (18 words)

Things may be a touch weird for a little while here. Working on new functionality for the site.

DJ this ... or not, perhaps (111 words)

The best laugh I’ve had all day came from Tom’s Hardware’s review of the Dell DJ. Ehrm. Actually, I think it’s supposed to be written: “DahDahDahDAHDAH Dell DJ.” But I could be wrong.

Spam flooded (212 words)

Woke up this morning to find that TheCoreDump had been comment spam flooded–one comment for each entry, all exactly identical, pointing to some online casino I won’t name.

Apple and encryption (205 words)

Once you go through the process of setting up and getting a certificate from a certificate authority, signing and encrypting mail in is remarkably transparent. But there are drawbacks, such as each computer you use for sending and receiving mail must have a copy of the certificate, and if you use a webmail client to access your mailbox, you cannot read or send encrypted or signed mail. Being locked out of webmail is a bother for people who use different computers in the day.

The Feds on computer security (260 words)

Scott Granneman has written a couple of interesting columns for SecurityFocus. In one of them, he discusses the scary ignorance Joe User has when it comes to security. The column shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody doing end-user support, but judging from the still-abysmal state of user interfaces for security tools, it’s a big surprise to the makers of anti-virus software and firewalls. And Microsoft’s Windows Update tool is still a living manifesto of how not to design end-user software.

The horrors of IE (80 words)

As any web designer knows from bitter experience, Internet Explorer takes an, ahem, let’s just call it “unique” view on how HTML is supposed to render as compared to the rest of the known universe of web browsers, but since it has such an insanely high market share, it can not be ignored.

Crawling to the cross (82 words)

Looks like Apple is finally acknowledging the logic board issues plaguing the iBook line. This is good news, as people can stop whining about it on the message boards now.

2,048 bits of comfort (224 words)

Finally got around to setting up S/MIME encryption on my email thanks to the great instructions at Thanks to Joar for creating that document.

Car buying from the inside (249 words)

This has been out for a while, but I just stumbled across it: Confessions of a Car Salesman, an article on where they send a journalist undercover to work as a car salesman.

Shades (102 words)

Andrea got some shades this weekend, and of course looks absolutely adorable wearing them.Andrea with shades

Strong Bad Email (32 words)

Here’s a pretty funny time-waster: Strong Bad Email. Always good with a dose of dementia on a Saturday afternoon.

No anniversary for the Mac? (33 words)

Looks like Apple is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Macintosh by doing, well, nothing. No product announcements, not even a message on

iTunes Music Store RSS feeds (91 words)

In yet another sign that Apple Gets It, the company has added RSS feeds to the iTunes Music Store. Select what you’re interested in, and a feed is magically created for you.

Desert rain (87 words)

It rained last night and early this morning. For those of you not living in the desert, let me explain that rain is an Event here. So nice to go to bed with the sound of the rain outside. I even think it helps you sleep better. Lord knows I had a fantastic night’s sleep.

Caged heat (53 words)

According to The Register, an Ohio woman has been sentenced to 46 months in jail for an AOL phishing scheme. Looks like she was busted when one of her phishing mails went to an FBI agent. Oops.

Copyright protection for databases (82 words)

It’s apparently not enough that the patent system is broken enough that setting up a simple web page violates a patent. No indeedy, it’s time for a bill that gives the content of databases the same copyright protection as original works, even if the information in the database is publicly available.

Interesting solution to comment spam (128 words)

This is a pretty interesting solution to the problem with comment spam. Really clean and neat: comment spammers are like migrating pigeons, they land on your blog, crap all over it, then disappear, so by only letting IP addresses that have visited before post comments, you get a really nice first line of defense. The system will probably have to be tweaked a bit once the Evil Vermin figure it out and start visiting once, then waiting a few hours before coming back with their guano, but some judicious algorithm tweaks might help keep that problem at bay.

Permissions problems (483 words)

Just spent an incredibly frustrating hour or so. Looks like there’s some strange interaction between Mac OS X and AppleShare IP Server, where permissions get bungled. So I end up with my folder containing grades and things going back five years being readable by all my students. Is that good? No, it is not. As a matter of fact, it’s really really bad. Granted, I doubt any of my previous students are happening to be on campus rooting through my class folder, but it could happen.

Blast that Finder (155 words)

The ugliest part of Mac OS X ever since the first beta has been the Finder. Panther gave us a rewritten Finder–with the metal look for no particular reason whatsoever–but it still can’t walk and chew bubble gum at the same time.

Tevanian Microsoft trial testimony online (110 words)

Juicy stuff… Avie Tevanian’s testimony in the Microsoft anti-trust trial can be found here.

Gnome 2.4 on Mac OS X (720 words)

Saw an announcement over the weekend about the Fink project having ported Gnome 2.4 to Mac OS X, and decided this would be a good time to investigate the current state of Gnome.Thanks to the Fink team for all their work in making the port happen, and to the Gnome team for releasing 2.4. It’s definitely the best Gnome yet, and gets really close to the usability of “traditional” desktop operating systems like the Mac and Windows. The desktop integration works well, and most applications play very nice with each other. Not that I need to right now, as I’m satisfied with Mac OS X, but if I had to move over to the Land of Intel, I do believe I could till that soil quite happily.When used on a Mac OS X box with Apple’s X11, the GTK applications integrate pretty nicely, and will use your Mac fonts if you tell them to, so no need to use the eyeball-tearing “serif” and “sans-serif” generics.There are certainly warts, but not more than the usual Linux-y library dependency nightmares that can be sorted out with a firm hand and heavy googling. The Fink FAQ helps out a lot in the rough patches.For your entertainment, and hopefully to help anybody else who might run into the same problems I did, here’s a short blow-by-blow account of the install process. Note that this was a completely clean, right-out-of-the-box Fink doing its thing on dual-gig G4 with a gig of RAM. The times noted here will certainly vary according to the horsepower of your rig. They may also be quite off, as I was in and out doing other things while the machine worked, but at least the times should be in the ballpark.- Download and install Fink.

Anna Lindh killer remanded (55 words)

AFP reports that Mijailo Mijailovic was today found guilty of the murder of Anna Lindh and remanded to psychiatric evaluation, the outcome of which will determine his sentencing.

Scan this! (148 words)

Interesting Wired article about companies releasing software that turns your camera-equipped cell phone into a bar-code scanner. It’s a pretty darn cool concept to be able to swipe an item and have your phone look for deals and coupons online.

State of the Union drinking game (28 words)

Kind of amusing, but I can’t recommend you play this drinking game during the State of the Union address. You will most likely die of alcohol poisoning.

iLife ’04 first impressions (728 words)

Swooped down to the local software pusher today like the big vulture I am and picked up my copy of iLife ‘04. Apple’s official page has all the marketing speak you could shake a memory stick at. The following are some quick impressions.Install: Not a good start. The installer commits the following sacrileges:1. It pops up a “Do you want to be on our mailing list forever?” (aka “Do you want to register?”) question in the middle of the install. I thought everybody had gotten the memo by now that you ask questions in the beginning or end of an install, never during the install. Long installs are for coffee breaks. Returning to the computer after a coffee break to find the install only halfway done because of an inane popup does nobody’s blood pressure any good.

When incompetence becomes sadism (125 words)

A friend of mine, lets call him Bill, has spent the last few months training personnel in India to do his job. As everybody knows, training offshore personnel to do your job is a sure-fire sign you’re being promoted to management.

The Unix-Haters Handbook (34 words)

The Unix-Haters Handbook has been released as a free as in beer .pdf. Required and hilarious reading for people who spend a bit more time than they should in front of their computers.

Burn the heretics (582 words)

A veritable who’s-who of XMLerati are having a heated discussion about Brent Simmons’s decision to make NetNewsWire not attempt to parse Atom feeds that aren’t well-formed XML.Mark Pilgrim is weighing in with the opinion that rejecting XML on the client-side is a bad idea. He bases his statement on the fact that it is very hard to generate well-formed XML and XHTML, and to make things worse, when you run a site that allows trackbacks and comments, content that is outside your control can ruin your well-formedness. If a web browser were to take a conform-or-die position, a lot of the web would simply disappear. This is very true.The popularity of the web to a large extent stems from the fact that web browsers have bent over backwards to parse and ignore HTML errors, which significantly lowered the bar for creating content for the web and enabled people to kludge together web sites with wild abandon. And it was good.At the same time, though, now we’re talking XML. One of the purposes of XML is to be machine-readable so that we can create nifty pieces of software that does cool and interesting things with existing content, like Dave Winer’s which does fun and social things with OPML files.It’s easy to note a sense of weariness in Simmons’s stance: I want to spend time on the features people care about – synching and searching and all the many things people are asking for. The more time I spend on work-arounds for feed parsing, the less time I spend on the really cool features that people want. Why should some bad feeds take up my time? If I let bad feeds take me away from new features and bug fixes, then bad feeds are punishing my users.As a NetNewsWire Lite user, I certainly would prefer to see Simmons spend his time implementing nifty features rather than work around weird hobgoblins. At the same time, having spent my time in the rat-infested trenches of customer support, I can guarantee that no matter how informative an error message NetNewsWire throws up when it encounters a malformed Atom feed, a lot of users will just assume that his software is crap and move to something that waves a dead chicken over the malformed feed.Hmm. There’s a lot to think about this. Prima facie I applaud Simmons’s decision to take a hard line, and since Atom is such a new format, one can hope that the early adopters who use it and consume it will have a sufficiently high level of cluefulness that they will know to pester the source of the feed rather than the parsing software.Also, feeds aren’t web pages, so it’s not the same level of catastrophe if the feed won’t display as if the web page itself refuses to show. Interesting times ahead for Atom feeds.Perhaps a good idea would be to bring shame back into the equation. When reader software encounters a bad feed, even if it decides to work around the errors, it should flag it as bad and explain why. This way the human reader knows that something non-kosher is going on, but the consumption of the feed is not impaired, and it will also help motivate feed creators to rectify the errors of their ways. You would think that somebody who goes through the trouble of creating a feed would care if something is wrong with it?Music: “No Good (Start The Dance)” by The Prodigy

Mijailovic trial gets underway (79 words)

The trial of Mijailo Mijailovic went underway today in a maximum security courtoom in Stockholm.

Review: No End Save Victory (617 words)

No End Save Victory is a collection of 44 essays about World War II edited by Robert Cowley and definitely counts as a must-read for anybody interested in this conflict. The essays cover the entire war, from the blitzkrieg in Poland and France to the Japanese emperor’s radio broadcast of his surrender speech, known as the Voice of the Crane.Most of the essays feel like the authors are getting to delve deeper into specific areas of the conflict they feel deserve more coverage than they’ve been getting, and some of them are truly fascinating. A discussion on the effectiveness of the RAF strategic bombing campaign–essentially a systematic terror bombing of German cities, including the fire storm of Hamburg–focuses on the impact of that campaign on the ultimate victory in the European Theater, including the German use of flak cannons rather than more effective fighters for the psychological comfort of the German populace. Apparently a flak cannon consumed more resources–i.e. ammunition and man power–to shoot down a bomber than it cost to build that bomber in the first place.Some of the essays also contain eyewitness testimony from combatants, including a Japanese kamikaze pilot who survived despite his own best efforts, and the diary of John Gabay, a B-17 Flying Fortress tail gunner. Here’s Gabay’s diary entry for a raid on Bordeaux, France, for his actions in which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross:We crossed the Channel to France, then headed south along the French Coast to our target. It was a clear day and we could see the ground, which didn’t happen often. We flew over the city of La Rochelle and ran into moderate but inaccurate flak. I could see the flashes from their gun batteries. They also tried to cover the town with smoke pots, thinking we were going to bomb it. We met a few P-47s, but they left us in a few minutes. A lone 109 attacked a Fort lagging behind. They had their own private war till we started the bomb run. Then the flak came, heavy and accurate. I could hear the bursts and hear the chunks of steel ripping into the ship–a sickening sound. Fighters came through their own flak and attacked us. We were flying Purple Heart Corner again and the FW-190s attacked our ship in threes and fours. [Purple Heart Corner was the low outside position on the formation, and one that enemy fighters found easy to isolate.] I know I damaged some. It was a running fight for almost an hour. We lost an engine and couldn’t keep up with the group. About the same time another Fort lost an engine and we both hung together till we reached the Brest peninsula, then he couldn’t stay with us and lagged back. When he was about 800 yards back, two black-and-silver FW-190s attacked him and blew him in half. I didn’t have time to look for the chutes as both fighters came at us at 6 o’clock level. I poured it to them–a wing came off one and the other burst into flames. The pilot insisted I claim them. We got a few light flak bursts before we left Brest. We were all alone–then I saw a Fort below us ditch. We got back OK. Ship had several flak and machine-gun holes. Had three big holes in the tail and a broken side window.No End Save Victory is highly worth reading, both for the accounts of the human cost of combat and the more high-level strategic discussions, such as the tension between the Prussian military tradition and the Nazi Party and the internal divisions inside the Japanese High Command as the tides of war turned against them.

Email more unreliable than ever (115 words)

Fred Langa at InformationWeek performed an informal study of how much of email gets lost or caught in overzealous spam filters, and came to the conclusion that up to 40% of legitimate email goes into the bit bucket.

Ishkur’s Guide to Electronic Music (116 words)

This is awesome! A taxonomy of electronic music showing how the different sub-categories relate to each other, complete with snarky comments on the genres and samples of representative music. Well worth checking out if you’re into the genre.

Excellent cartoons (57 words)

Hugh MacLeod produces excellent “cartoons drawn on the back of business cards” at This is one of the few cartoons since Dilbert and Calvin and Hobbes that really connects with me, and is well worth checking out.

CNN transcripts (49 words)

Great tidings for hardcore news junkies. CNN is now posting transcripts on their web site. This is also great for bloggers without access to LexisNexis, as we can now look up transcripts on CNN and thus avoid looking too much like idiots when transcribing news from memory.

Triangle block in square hole (104 words)

Andrea has a bucket with blocks that are either circles, squares, or triangles. The lid has three openings, one for each shape. We were playing with the blocks, and I was showing her how each kind goes through a certain opening. This was a lot of fun.

Hairtrigger (304 words)

A rumor somehow got started yesterday that one of the pipelines bringing in the precious life blood of the Valley of the Sun had ruptured, potentially leading to a repeat of this summer’s complete cluster f**k. While it’s not yet known how the rumor got started, the friendly afternoon crew of 101.5 KZON apparently poured gasoline on the flames by making jokes about a gas shortage.

Mini means mini (301 words)

John Gruber has yet another thoughtful article up, this time about the iPod mini. Only time will tell if it’s going to be a successful product, but my gut feeling is yes. The core problem a lot of people seem to be having with the product is price–it has less storage, so it should cost less; it is an entry-level iPod.

Lightning reviews: Baen books (513 words)

During my extended bout with the flu, I’ve been using my trusty Palm and the Baen Free Library to help take the edge off the virus invasion.

Review: March Upcountry (70 words)

I am a huge sucker for space marines, plasma cannons, and aliens, so March Upcountry hits the spot. David Weber and John Ringo team up to provide a fast-paced and well-plotted space opera with lots of action and interesting characters.

The schizo Apple (195 words)

Things have got to be a bit weird in Cupertino these days, what with Apple separating its focus into two directions.

Confession from Anna Lindh’s murderer (133 words)

With a confession from prime suspect Mijailo Mijailovic, it looks like the grotesque murder of Anna Lindh is cleared up.

Keynote wrap-up (320 words)

Another Macworld keynote come and gone. The 2004 keynote was all in all pretty good. Good energy, good message, and good product announcements.

Review: Timeline (85 words)

Actually, not really a review of Michael Crichton’s Timeline, as I’m unable to get more than half-way through it. A pseudo-science plot with holes so large you could drive a quantum disturbance through them, characters I don’t care about one whit, and stilted prose. What’s to like? Nothing.

Fare thee well, PageMaker (83 words)

Adobe has announced that they are discontinuing PageMaker. A legend goes quietly unto its grave. I can’t even begin to count the hours I’ve spent in PageMaker; out of all the applications I’ve used over the years, PageMaker is probably the one I mastered at the deepest level.

Spam darwinism (166 words)

According to Reuters:During calendar 2003, AOL blocked nearly 500 billion spam messages from reaching user inboxes, an average of 40 fewer such messages per day per subscriber account. The company said it regularly blocks 75 percent to 80 percent of incoming mail as spam.That’s a whole lotta spam.



Windows and back again (293 words)

With all the RSS stuff I’ve been thinking about lately, it seemed like a good idea to check out the reader situation on the Windows side of the fence, so for the first time in I don’t know how long, it was time to fire up the Windows box.

Happy new year (44 words)

A happy new year and best wishes for 2004 to you all. May it be a year of health, prosperity, and peace.

The state of ethics (27 words)

Highly entertaining rant by John Shirley on the amount of sleazy marketing and advertising we allow to happen.

CSS in RSS feeds (153 words)

Richard Soderberg figured out how to include CSS in RSS feeds, and now Joi Ito is using the technique.

IM and ADD (159 words)

Jakob Nielsen has written a piece about how Instant Messaging (IM) can be Kryptonite for productivity. While IM can be a very useful tool for long-distance collaboration, I couldn’t agree more with him that it’s yet another interruption factor, along with email and phone calls, that disrupt productivity, especially when you’re involved in tasks that require focus and concentration, say, like programming.

CSS goodness for NetNewsWire (394 words)

One of the many good things about NetNewsWire is that you can tell it to use your own CSS to format the feeds. The official word from Brent Simmons can be found here.

Happy Solstice! (215 words)

Once again, it’s the time of year when we make sacrifice to ensure the return of the sun, to genuflect to the powers in which we believe, and pray for the release of the sun from her prison of darkness.

RSS is your friend (396 words)

I’ve gushed about RSS readers in the past, but the more sites start bringing feeds online, and the more custom feeds that are appearing, the more it’s changing my online experience.

Some sanity in Norway (63 words)

From Oslo appeals court cleared a 20-year-old Norwegian man of DVD piracy charges on Monday in a new setback for Hollywood studios, which say unauthorized copying costs them billions of dollars a year.This is good news, even though it presumably won’t have any bearing on any insanity that goes on in American courts.

Cozy up to the monitor (34 words)

O’Reilly’s posted a list of their best articles of 2003. Excellent reading on the laptop while you’re tired from stuffing your face with Christmas food…

Review: The Return of the King (187 words)

The Return of the King is just as good as everybody says. The acting is strong, the special effects, well, special, and the plotting is very good. Definitely one of the best movies of the year, and well worth spending three and a half hours on.

Sleazy bastards (61 words)

Doc Searls did some shopping at a Yahoo! store and encountered some remarkably sleazy business practices. Read it for yourself and be aghast.

iDisk sync failed (134 words)

For some reason my iDisk has failed to sync for a while; I finally got around to checking into it, and looking at ~/Library/Logs in Console showed:Agent/mirrordb.c,186 err -50 (getwhatwas).A Google search revealed nothing about this.

iTunes lag gone (72 words)

Looks like either 10.3.2 or iTunes 4.2 fixed the really annoying lag I’ve been experiencing with iTunes. It would take several seconds to make iTunes take focus, sometimes–but sometimes not–accompanied by the dreaded spinning pizza of death.

Gift cards (180 words)

Lots of ads on television these days hawking gift cards. I always felt that giving somebody a gift card is kind of like saying, “I wanted to give you money, but if I give you cash you’ll just blow it on crack and hookers, so here’s a gift card instead.”

We’re going to need a lot of coffee here (163 words)

This might take a while…NetNewsWire Lite with many unread feeds

Conjunctivitis in da house (32 words)

The baby has pink eye. Which means I get to put two drops of antibiotics in each affected eye four times a day. Oh joy.

Kernel 2.6 changes (92 words)

Joseph Pranevich has posted a pretty darned impressive document about the changes in Linux kernel 2.6 which just hit the street today.

Anna Lindh murder suspect linked to DNA evidence (76 words)

According to this article, it seems the Swedish police has a pretty air-tight case based on DNA evidence against the current murder suspect.

Just say no to lutefisk (170 words)

Yuletide is upon us, and it is a difficult time of the year for Swedes living abroad, as the traditional food stuffs that belong to Christmas in Sweden are hard to come by, and the traditional julbord, or Christmas table, served by Swedish restaurants at this time of year are of course non-existent in the deep southwest.

Whoa! A paradigm shift! (212 words)

Apparently Windows XP Service Pack 2 will change the machine default configurations to a more locked-down state.

All your spam are belong ... well, you know (392 words)

Bush has signed the first national anti-spam bill into law. Oh happy day. Except of course that it won’t lessen spam. If anything it’ll give us more spam.

A solution to spam (207 words)

Spam is completely out of control, costing companies billions of dollars, wasting people’s time to sort through, and on top of everything else is often offensive on many levels. To combat the problem, all sorts of solutions are pondered in laboratories around the world–white lists, black lists, Bayesian filters, and other defenses of varying levels of desperation and cunning.

RFID credit cards (79 words)

JWZ has been doing some thinking about wireless credit cards. Eminently worth a read.

Balls to the Wall (321 words)

Watched VH1 Classic last night, and on came nothing less than the video for Accept’s Balls to the Wall, one of the fundamental 80s German heavy metal tunes. (The link opens in iTunes.)Balls to the WallSeeing that video reminded me of one time when Accept was playing in Gothenburg, and all the metal dudes, myself excluded, were going. In that particular part of Sweden it was very common to take a tour bus to concerts. Basically a bus company would buy up blocks of tickets, then sell them as a package with transportation. It was a pretty nice setup, the bus picked you up, dropped you off at the arena, then picked you up after the concert. It’s about a two hour bus ride to Gothenburg from Skövde.

Bush tough on crime (100 words)

Hmm. The Pentagon says it has evidence that Haliburton overcharged the government $61 million for gas delivered to Iraq. In a tough, uncompromising stand, President Bush said, “If there’s an overcharge, like we think there is, we expect that money to be repaid.”

Happy birthday to me (72 words)

Another year older today. Not really feeling it too much, as most of my energy these days is directed towards my daughter and creating a good environment for her to flourish. Still, bones creak a little more, aches and pains take longer to go away, every year the flu seems to linger a little bit longer.

Time for a lynch mob (77 words)

According to eWeek, two Virginia men are the first ones to be tried under the state’s anti-spam laws. If convicted, the sleaze buckets can go to jail for five years. I really hope they’ll be convicted and go to a pound-me-in-the-ass facility.

CVS over SSH on Mac OS X (249 words)

[I’m putting this up here so I don’t have to google for the info every time I set up a fresh machine from scratch.]

Kittens (215 words)

There’s been a white cat sneaking around our back yard for a few days. Last night she showed up again with two tiny kittens in tow. They’re young enough that they’re still nursing from her. After a while she went somewhere, presumably to look for food, and left the two kittens on our patio. It’s getting cold enough at night here that I was worried that they wouldn’t make it through the night, but they did. The kittens are gorgeous little creatures, both of them a uniform dark charcoal.

U.S. government fails computer security (31 words)

Since this seems to be security day here at The Core Dump, why not throw in an Ars Technica article about the U.S. government getting an “F” on computer security.

Weather channel for nerds (114 words)

Every once in a while I like to check in on the Internet Storm Center. The site gives you a brief overview of which ports are currently being attacked as well as a roundup of security news.

LOTR pitch meeting (237 words)

I’ve been spending some time while recuperating from a really nasty bout with the flu watching through the bonus materials on the Two Towers Extended DVD. It’s always fascinating to watch the creative process, and even more so when it’s such a monumentally huge production.

TrackBack pings behind the firewall (74 words)

The indefatigable Jeremy Zawodny has an interesting article about the problems companies can get into when TrackBack ping auto discovery isn’t turned off on an internal blogging system. Sounds awfully like a real-world story…

Creativity in the board room (298 words)

Online music stores are hot, hot, hot! Therefore, everybody and their brother has to get in on the action. According to MediaGuardian Coca-Cola is crowding on to the bandwagon:“We’re delighted to bring downloadable music to more people and we are working in close partnership with the music industry to do so. Consumers have told us that downloading music is confusing and complicated and what they want is an easy, simple to use downloadable service from a trusted brand,” said the company’s marketing director, Julia Goldin.Yes, absolutely! When I think about downloading tunage, I think about Coca-Cola!

War and geography (49 words)

From a .sig file on the cocoa-dev mailing list:

Blog survey (57 words)

BlogSearchEngine has posted the results of a survey of 610 bloggers regarding their blogging. [Note to self: never use the word blog that many times in a sentence again. Use smurf instead.] While it looks like it’s not the most stringently selected sample, still interesting to read the results.

The small fry speaks (48 words)

Clicking around Baen Books, I ran into this essay. Interesting take on the effects music downloading has on smaller-name artists from the perspective of a smaller-name artist.

Reading books on the Palm (320 words)

A Hymn Before Battle is the first novel I’ve read entirely on a Palm Pilot, thanks to the foresight and hipness of Baen Books. A Hymn Before Battle is part of the Aldenata ISO–a compilation of 20 Baen books given away completely for free. As a reader who has already put quite a bit of lucre in Baen’s coffers, I couldn’t applaud this move more. In this age of media companies attempting more and more draconian measures to protect their profits, it’s so nice to see a company trust its customers.

Review: A Hymn Before Battle (80 words)

Military SF has long been a guilty pleasure of mine. Huge spaceships, evil aliens, stars going supernova, and things like that are a lot of fun. John Ringo’s A Hymn Before Battle is a well-crafted and -plotted excursion into most of the standard plot devices, but with a sort of Robert Ludlum flair. This looks like it’ll be the first in a series, and I’ll definitely read the next one as well.

Dark November in Sweden (115 words)

I’ve used Jeremy Zawodny’s Yahoo! news search via RSS tool to set up a custom feed to get news about the Motherland delivered piping fresh to my RSS reader. Excellent stuff.

RATs in the house (406 words)

A report by Sophos, an antispam and antivirus company, is getting a lot of attention on the web today. According to the report, fully one third of spam is spread by computers infected with a Remote Access Trojan (RAT). With the spread of broadband, always-on internet connectivity, more and more machines are becoming infected, largely due to the fact that most people have no idea how to secure their boxen.

iTunes for your pleasure (105 words)

Thanks to Joe, the music entries on this blog will now link directly to the iTunes music store so that those who wish can listen to samples of the artist and perhaps even buy a few tunes if the mood strikes and your credit card feels particularly lonely.

Services: A new dawn for the daemon (193 words)

One of the cool things in Mac OS X that seems to lie dormant right underneath the consciousness of most users is the Services menu. There it sits, just a tiny little item hidden in your application menu, not calling any attention to itself, just kind of hanging out, waiting, waiting to pounce.

Project Censored (132 words)

Run, don’t walk, to check out Project Censored’s The Top 25 Censored Media Stories of 2002-2003. Scary, scary stuff.

Auto complete everywhere (103 words)

Turns out there’s just tons of cool stuff lurking under the hood on Panther. This hint on Mac OS X Hints shows that option-escape or F5 will auto complete words pretty much anywhere you can input text. That’s just incredibly cool. Looks like it only works in Cocoa apps, but hey, still cool.

Church much? (232 words)

According to a poll by Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, regular church attendance is now the prime indicator of political leanings, with regular church goers voting Republican by a 2-to-1 ratio, while people who never attend church vote Democrat, also by a 2-to-1 ratio.


Haunted G4 (106 words)

Looks like Monolith, my Wind Tunnel is experiencing some weirdness. As usual, I left the machine sleeping, then came back to find it powered down. Which is exactly what happened when it blew its logic board.

Review: Crossroads of Twilight (170 words)

Book 10 in the Wheel of Time series. Wow. That’s a lot of words. Crossroads of Twilight continues the unfortunate trend in the last four or so books of being glacially slow. Essentially nothing happens. Oh, there’s a lot of activity, but the plot really doesn’t move forward very much at all. Which is becoming exceptionally frustrating.

Wells Fargo computer theft suspect caught (97 words)

Police have arrested a suspect in the theft of a computer holding highly sensitive Wells Fargo customer account information. Good thing.

Tablet computing (115 words)

Looks like Robert Cringely is being pulled into the tablet computing reality distortion field. But Cringely has a twist–he thinks that an Apple tablet could be the missing link for media convergence, making it easy to bring your media from the computer to the home entertainment center and vice versa.

The Two Towers (31 words)

Yesterday at Borders, unable to resist any more, I picked up the extended version of Two Towers. So that’s going to be Thanksgiving. Looks tasty.

AppleTalk in Directory Access (230 words)

On campus last night, I discovered that when browsing the Network, only Windows Workgroups would show up in the list. Aha, no problemo, thought I, I’ll just turn on AppleTalk. But AppleTalk was already on.

Uh-oh. Nerd alert (208 words)

Found this little bit of humor on Eric.Weblog():

No Santa Claus for you! (40 words)

The venerable BoingBoing has the story of a woman who is ”publishing a photography book of bad, drunk, deranged, drug-addled, criminal, and slovenly Santas.” An excellent idea.

Pet peeve: logging on to site (115 words)

Both newspapers and tv “news” refers to visiting a web site as “logging on” to a site: “To read more, log on to our web site.” No, you visit a web site, or browse it. Logging on means to go through a challenge-response system to identify your credentials to view a resource. Unless the web site in question has this sort of system in place, like when you go check your email on Hotmail or Yahoo!, you are not logging on.

Review: The Lions of Al-Rassan (183 words)

Guy Gavriel Kay is one of the most interesting authors working in the fantasy genre today, and The Lions of Al-Rassan is one of his best works.

First spam (45 words)

My CoreDump email address received its first spam message today. Time from launch of obscure blog to first spam: 44 days. I’m actually a bit surprised–thought the spammers would be more on the ball.

Wells Fargo accounts in the wild (236 words)

This is incredibly scary:A computer holding the names, addresses, Social Security numbers and account numbers of thousands of Wells Fargo customers was stolen from a consultant’s office in Concord earlier this month, bank officials said Friday.The bank is going to change the account numbers of affected customers, and also pay for “a year-long credit-monitoring service that will notify customers whenever there is activity in their credit bureau files.”

Must ... resist ... temptation (59 words)

This is what a Christian sailor on shore leave walking through the red-light district must feel like. 3dgamers has posted screenshots from Unreal Tournament 2004. Ah, they look so good … must resist temptation … must not buy new video card for pc … must not spend hours playing … so tasty.

Oooh, spooky... (45 words)

Since I reviewed Prey a few days ago, this is topical. Looks like a team of scientist have hit paydirt: “A functional electronic nano-device has been manufactured using biological self-assembly for the first time.”

More on uptime (114 words)

I should add to my previous little uptime rant that now that Apple has the hardware (XServe) and software (10.3 Server) to really make inroads into enterprise space, the uptime issue is going to become important. Rebooting the server for an urgent security fix during production is just not feasible. So non-reboot patching is going to become more of an issue as time progresses and Apple gains a foothold in enterprise space. I sure hope the little elves in Cupertino are thinking about this…

Your uptime is 0wnz0r3d (186 words)

Another day, another software update from the mothership. On the one hand, I’m really happy that Apple’s taking security seriously and is cranking out fixes as fast as they can, but on the other hand it’s just really sad that there are still so many wicked little monsters inside the operating system that need fixing. It feels pretty Windows-y to update your computer every few days for a new security threat. (Not that I’m saying it’s near as bad on this side of the fence, but that the increase in volume is disheartening.)

Method acting site design (200 words)

We’ve all been there: you go to a site, and figuring out how to accomplish the task you’ve set yourself, be it finding the menu for a restaurant, or a way to check how many minutes you’ve used on your cell phone, has you swearing at the site designers.

Paris to Prague by way of bureaucracy (24 words)

James Gosling’s report on his experiences attempting to get from Paris to Prague made me want to lie down and take a nap…

Review: Prey (321 words)

Michael Crichton is an 800-pound gorilla, and as I’d never read any of his other books, I figured I’d give Prey a whirl. Mr. Crichton is a consummate craftsman of the page-turner: the plotting and pacing are great, and the action scenes are exquisitely put together.

Horselover Fat (175 words)

Wired has a pretty good article on Philip K. Dick (or Horselover Fat, as he liked to refer to himself) and the increasing amount of Hollywood movies based on his work. Apart from Bladerunner, I’ve always been disappointed by what Hollywood has done to Dick’s work. Seems to me, if you’re going to make a movie based on a novel fueled by paranoia, fear, and hopelessness, it should probably be a paranoid, dark movie.

Reality distortion field run amok (53 words)

Crazy Apple Rumors has been churning out some good stuff lately. They are now descending further into absurdism, which is a good thing–finally somebody’s stepping up to the plate and filling the gaping void in gonzo tech sites. Unless you count John Dvorak.

Software’s lizard brain (498 words)

Interesting InfoWorld column by Jon Udell about the problems backwards compatibility is causing in software, and how software is evolving at a much slower rate than hardware. Mr. Udell argues that software is evolving through increasing layers of abstractions:The arc of software progress is defined not by increasing speed or capacity, but by the growing complexity of the data, events, messages, and relationships flowing through software systems. We deal with that complexity by layering abstractions on top of abstractions.

Secret Agent (29 words)

Just found a great stream: Secret Agent. It’s in the Electronica section of iTunes Radio. The concept is sheer genius: Downtempo with James Bond sound bites mixed in. Bravo.

Log file parsing is addictive (172 words)

Spent some time this weekend rolling a log file parser for this site, which was a lot of fun. Whenever I spend some time away from Python I love it even more when I come back. Such a great language! I’ve been living in PHP for a while now, and while it certainly makes it easy to accomplish a lot of web application tasks, the language smells so much of Perl. “$this->myVar” is so ugly it hurts me every time I have to type it. Let’s hope PHP 5 will have more elegant object handling.

Review: Under the Banner of Heaven (236 words)

Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith tells the story of the double-murder of Erica Lafferty and her 15-month-old daughter Brenda by two of Brenda’s husband’s brothers. In order to put together the mental framework that lead Ron and Dan Lafferty to commit these murders, Mr. Krakauer provides a history of Mormonism and various fundamentalist Mormon splinter groups.

Crayon reign of terror continues (103 words)

Our mini-Picasso has now updated our home decor with crayon marks. A bedroom wall and a door now sport her logo, which I’ve started to think about as the “Purple Ellipsis of Quality.” She is learning to draw ellipses, which is a good sign that her motor skills are improving. Now if we could only get her crayon-permissible area skills to improve, that would be great.

Safari dropshadows (37 words)

As a benefit to readers who aren’t blessed with Panther, here’s a screenshot of what this site’s masthead looks like in Safari 1.1:

Toddler + crayons = danger (135 words)

A few days ago I wrote about our budding Picasso scribbling on the TV screen. I was at the time very relieved that she hadn’t gotten to Wintermute, my laptop.

Darth Vader’s employee evaluation (35 words)

This is fairly funny: Darth Vader’s employee evaluation. (Link goes straight to an mp3.)

Playlistism (189 words)

With the increase of iTunes music sharing on networks, a new form of bigotry is on the rise–playlistism, defined as “discrimination based not on race, sex or religion, but on someone’s terrible taste in music, as revealed by their iTunes music library.”

Backup for the average user (568 words)

Mike Deem is talking about how WinFS will make it much easier for users to backup their data once Longhorn comes out:We are working with backup vendors to [sic] great backup support in WinFS. User’s won’t have to know where their files are in order to back them up. The same powerful query capability they use to find their items can be used to identify the items to backup. The system should take care of the rest.I say bravo. Backing up is a major pain point for end users, as it has been for way too many years now. But then he goes one better:In WinFS you’ll be able to easily tell the system to replicate a set of items to another WinFS store, and ask the system to keep them in sync. Viola [sic]… instant backup.It’s great to see Microsoft thinking about these things, and to build them into WinFS.

Crayons and Teletubbies (90 words)

This morning Andrea came up with a way to combine two of her favorite activities: Watching the Teletubbies and coloring with crayons. That’s right. She colored the TV screen. I’m happy to report, though, that Windex and intense scrubbing will remove crayons from a TV screen. We learn something every day.

And I’m spent (60 words)

Some small tweaks to the html in the sidebar to make it more sensible, including the glorious XML button for syndication. The sidebar felt really naked without it.

Minor CSS tweak (95 words)

The observant reader will notice that the site looks subtly different now. I’ve been tweaking the CSS a little bit. It’s still pretty far from where I’d like it to be, but this fixes the major things that were bugging me.

The semantic web (265 words)

The web as it stands today is full of interesting things that only make sense to humans. But it would be nice if we could get our computers to understand the sea of data out there. Imagine instead of using Google or some other search engine to drill down to the information we’re after, getting side tracked and side slammed in the process, there was some way to organize all this information so it makes sense for the machines. Thus the dream of the semantic web.

Boycott Belkin (154 words)

Sometimes you just have to wonder what the hell they were thinking. Belkin has put in a “feature” in the latest revs of their router firmware that will redirect a valid http request (i.e., you going to any website) to an ad on Belkin’s site for a Parental Control service.

The meaning of unsupported (324 words)

Reading through the forums on Macintouch, MacFixit, and those sorts of sites, there seems to be a great deal of confusion regarding the meaning of the word “unsupported.” If you call Apple, Microsoft, Dell, or whoever made the product you’re having a problem with, and they tell you that what you’re trying to do is unsupported, that does not necessarily mean that it’s impossible or will not work. All unsupported means is “we’re not going to spend the time to tell you how to do it.” That’s all. Now, what you’re trying to do may actually not be possible. It may not be within the realm of possibility to get your ImageWriter working with your Dell laptop. But that’s not what it means when Dell tells you it’s unsupported. It’s just not a part of what the company feels they need to help you accomplish. Hence, unsupported.

The greatest of all usabilities (104 words)

Ran across the definitive answer to the text editor wars (vi vs. emacs) today, and thought, hey, it’s also the definitive answer to usability:Note the consistent user interface and error reportage. Ed is generous enough to flag errors, yet prudent enough not to overwhelm the novice with verbosity.

Jaguar usability (469 words)

The school upgraded the computers in the lab where I corrupt young minds to Jaguar this semester, which is great, as I was getting really tired of OS 9 barfing all over itself. It’s also been very interesting, as most of my students fall in the “naive user” category. Nothing wrong with that, technology is not their field, and part of my task is to get them productive on the machines. That being said, it’s always an eye-opener to see how people interact with the machines, and how some things you take for granted are really not self-evident at all.

Matrix Revolutions abridged script (57 words)

This abridged Matrix Revolutions script is awesome. Save your $8. You know you’ll buy it on DVD when it comes out anyway.

Review: Matrix Revolutions (168 words)

Sigh. It’s a disappointment. A pretty good movie, but it just doesn’t have the focus and verve of either the original or Reloaded. Feels like they lost focus and didn’t know how to end it.

Adrift with a political compass (108 words)

There’s a ”political compass” survey making the rounds of the blogosphere. It attempts to measure your political leanings on both left-right and libertarian-authoritarian scales.

File under strangely disturbing (35 words) has a brief compilation of the Worst Album Covers Ever. For some reason this one really struck a chord with me:

Moving and shaking in Linux space (90 words)

Interesting things happening in Linux space recently: Novell is going to buy SuSE Linux, and Red Hat will stop maintaining and producing their Linux distribution in April 2004. Red Hat will focus on their Enterprise offering. The company also recently announced fairly strong numbers.

Apple dealers taking it in the shorts (337 words)

According to Think Secret, Apple’s updating their dealer requirements for resellers. According to reports from a web cast on Monday, dealers, among other things, must now have an ‘attach rate’ of 60 percent on the Apple Protection Plan, aka APP, aka Apple Pure Profit. APP is Apple’s extended warranty scheme, adding two years to the product warranty, plus free phone support for the life of the extended warranty.

Let’s get fair and balanced (131 words)

Interesting article on Salon (if you’re not a paying member you have to sit through an interstitial to read the whole thing) about the goings-on at Fox News.

Review: Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them (472 words)

Al Franken strikes again with Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. Written in a breezy, easy-to-read style, it has some really funny moments, but in the end it made me really, really depressed. The fact that a book like this needed to be written should make anybody with an interest in democracy hang their heads. It should also make the people toiling in news rooms across the country take a long, hard look at their professional mission.


Halloween scare (16 words)

Please tell me this is just a Halloween scare…

Star Trek nerds rejoice! (21 words)

Yes, yes, yes … Communicators! Finally! I wonder if they make the chirp sound?

Using REST with Amazon (218 words)

Pretty cool article at about using REST instead of SOAP with Amazon’s web services. Hmmm.

Hazy weather (72 words)

Things have been hazy in the Valley of the Sun today. My first thought was that it was smoke from the SoCal fires, but then I thought, “No way, they’re six hours away by car.” It seems impossible that there could be enough smoke to stretch this far.

No zen for you! (70 words)

In class last night I made a reference to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Turns out that out of 12 college seniors, one junior, and two graduate students, nobody had ever heard of the book. Not just hadn’t read it, but had never heard of it.

Lord of the Switchers (152 words)

Great article on O’Reilly about the Virginia Tech G5 cluster and how it came to be.

The network is the computer (358 words)

Tim O’Reilly, my favorite book publisher in the whole gosh-darn world, has put on his thinking cap and pondered the power of networked applications.

Football charity (147 words)

This week’s Monday Night Football game was moved to Tempe, AZ due to San Diego’s Qualcomm stadium being used as shelter for fire victims. Admission was free, with a twist: fans were asked to make a charitable contribution to help the relief efforts. I have to admit ignorance as to the cost of a football ticket, but I (in my ignorant little heart) figured that people would drop that amount for charity and consider it the cost of admission, but with the proceeds going to help fire victims instead of more crack for football players.

Blessed relief (37 words)

Woke up this morning to a temperature of 52F. Aahhh, that feels so good. Have the windows open in the study, enjoying the cool breeze.

The cow goes metal (111 words)

The Mac universe has long been aflutter with opinion about the brushed metal look Apple is putting on more and more of its applications:

Custom Yahoo! news feeds (126 words)

Yahoo! lets you subscribe to news over RSS feeds, which is very cool. To make things even better, Jeremy Zavodny, generally extremely cool Internet developer dude, has posted a tool to let you use your own search terms in the Yahoo! feeds. Yahoo! News tracks a lot of stuff, so this is incredibly useful for keeping tabs on what is happening in areas of interest to you.

FileVault considered harmful (392 words)

This bites. My number one tinfoil-hat feature of Panther is wreaking havoc with my system. Big discussion about it over at MacSlash.

Disruptive technologies: News aggregators (309 words)

The biggest change for my own personal use of the web since the search engine is the advent of the news aggregator. Using an aggregator makes it so much faster and easier to keep up with what is happening on your favorite sites that it’s impossible to go back to the old way of going through your bookmarks, check site A; nothing new; check site B, ah, a new article; check site C, nothing new, ad nauseam.

Fifteen seconds of sort-of fame (267 words)

Looks like Scoble somehow found my little rant and linked back to it. Right on.

SoCal fires from space (49 words)

This is amazing. The smoke plumes from the wildfires in SoCal are visible from satellite:

iTunes lag (53 words)

Experiencing some weird lagging with iTunes after a fresh Panther install. It will intermittently take several seconds to come to the foreground. Strange. No spinning beach ball or anything, it just seems to take a while to wake up to the fact that it has focus.

The best laid plans (137 words)

The terrible wildfires in the Los Angeles area are wreaking havoc with Microsoft’s PDC. Airports are closed all over the West. The drama of the PDC staff attempting to salvage as much of the situation as possible is playing out live at Scoble’s blog.

Microsoft Kool-Aid (336 words)

It looks like Robert Scoble is getting a lot of attention for his blog. Which is as it should, as he’s really an incredible blogging machine, and is, I’m sure, going be held as the prototype for the Corporate Blogger. He does a really good job of putting a human face on the Microsoft Machine. So hats off to him.

First Panther impressions (532 words)

Some quick Panther impressions to take us all into the weekend… All in all, a really solid upgrade; the “wow” factor isn’t as high as it was with Jaguar, even though in retrospect, most of that was Quartz Extreme, I think. With Jaguar or Panther, the oozing slickness you get on a machine that is QE capable is simply stunning. Slapping a transparent window around over a playing DVD without any kind of stutter and the CPU meter not even noticing it is still awesome, and great fun for the Nerd On a Budget™. The improvements in Panther are mostly buried a little bit deeper, but are just as profound as the ones in Jaguar.

Classic from rec.humor.funny.reruns (381 words)

Saw this on rec.humor.funny.reruns and thought it definitely belongs in as many places on the Internet as possible, so here goes:

Coupling: Now without subtitles! (216 words)

Just caught an episode of the American version of Coupling. If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s a British sitcom, essentially a more raunchy and less dopey take on the same concept as Friends. Coupling, the original, is an exceptionally well-written and -acted show that occasionally manages to be laugh-out-loud funny. The “Inferno” episode is probably the funniest made-for-tv half-hour I’ve ever seen. Yup, it’s that good.

New iBooks out of left field (249 words)

Apple today released new iBooks, equipped with G4 chips instead of the pokey G3s. Hmmm. That is very interesting, as Wintermute, my current Mobile Headquarters, is an old 2001 iBook with a blistering 600MHz G3 and no Quartz Extreme. Tech specs look okay–800MHz G4, no FireWire 800, which is okay; combo drive, which is fine on a laptop. Bluetooth is external. Urgh.

First snow in Sweden (64 words)

My parents sent me this picture, taken today the 21st of October in the year of our Lord 2003:

RSS feed update (52 words)

Our good, good friends at O’Reilly have an article about making really snarky RSS feeds with Movable Type. If you’re reading this site through an aggregator–which is the only way to fly these days–things should look much nicer now.

Shiny bright computers (204 words)

It is done. Both the Mac and the Windows XP box are running squeaky-clean, fresh-off-the-cd systems.

Ode to a dead hard drive (333 words)

I’ve dedicated today to doing general fix-up and cleaning of computer systems, in yet another attempt at making my computing life smooth and trouble-free. Alas, the computer gods laugh at this kind of hubris, so Estrella, one of the drives in Monolith, decided to give up the ghost.

Hot enough for you? (79 words)

So us Phoenicians are suffering through a major heat wave. It’s very strange to talk to family and friends in Sweden, where the temperatures are dropping to below freezing at night, the rain falls horizontally, and it’s time to dig in for the winter, while we’re cranking the air conditioners and swearing at the blasted heat.

In-a-gadda-da-vida (115 words)

Watching VH1 last night I picked up a new morsel of edification. Turns out that In-a-gadda-da-vida (an unbelievably annoying track, but that’s beside the point) is actually called In The Garden of Eden but that the singer was too chemically altered to be able to pronounce the words, so the band decided to just write the title down like he sang it.

It’s supposed to be black and white (100 words)

Funny article at Electronic Gaming Monthly where they set a bunch of kids to play the old games like Pong, Donkey Kong, and Tetris.

It tunes Windows (71 words)

Downloaded and installed iTunes on my Windows XP box. Amazing. The thing looks exactly like the Mac version, right down to the visualizer. Now I have to remember how to turn on framerates in the visualizer so I can do some über-nerd quickie benchmarking.

I’ll tune your Windows (94 words)

Apple just released iTunes for Windows. This will hopefully be quite cool. Am downloading it as I’m typing. Only available for Windows 2K/XP, which is quite all right, as there is absolutely no reason to use any other version of Windows if you want to maintain some semblance of sanity.

SmartyPants everywhere (83 words)

Installed SmartyPants on this blog yesterday. Very impressive piece of software. Thanks to John Gruber for creating it and making it gloriously free.

Clay Shirky rocks (49 words)

I’m chagrined that I haven’t paid more attention to the writings of Clay Shirky before. If you’re wallowing in the same sad state of ignorance that I used to, get over to his site and bone up.

Queer eye for the slob (128 words)

Ended up watching Queer Eye for the Straight Guy last night, the episode with Andrew the crew member. One thing that struck me was just what an unbelievable slob the guy was/is. How do you live with empty bottles and dirty clothes everywhere?

Three little letters (350 words)

Thinking more about the problems with high-ASCII characters being munged by computers reminded me of some of the insane silliness that happened in Sweden during the Big PC Explosion of the late 80s. At that point in time a lot of PCs shipped with American keyboards. Which is fine, as long as you don’t need to type in any strange characters, like, oh, let’s say, åäö. What’s crucial to remember here is that åäö aren’t some fancy-schmancy things that only typographers care about–they’re letters in the Swedish alphabet. This means that typing without them is like arbitrarily removing three letters from the alphabet. In other words, you’re castrating the language.

Seven bits of evil (248 words)

Joel Spolsky has created yet another nifty write-up called The Absolute Minimum Every Software Developer Absolutely, Positively Must Know About Unicode and Character Sets (No Excuses!).

The silence of the phones (109 words)

Something’s been different here at Intergalactic Headquarters for the last couple of weeks, and it finally dawned on me what it is: The phones have been very quiet. To the point where now when it rings I actually assume it’s not a telemarketer calling to torment me.

Which fantasy character are you? (35 words)

In the dorky-but-fun section, there’s a quiz for you to find out which fantasy character you most resemble.

Computer Scare (279 words)

Had a bit of a scare with Monolith, my WindTunnel, today. Went to the study in the morning to check my email, and Monolith was off. Hmm, odd, since I never turn it off, but sleep it at night. Powered it on, and noticed that the jet engine fans didn’t turn on.

What’s this then? (186 words)

The inaugural post on this brand-new blog.

Enjoy the ten latest posts:

Review: Spectre

A long-time Bond fan looks at the latest installment in the series and has thoughts.

Book roundup, part 20

Includes The Antidote, One Nation, Under Gods, Losing the Signal, The Todd Glass Situation, The Last Policeman, The Three-Body Problem, The Dark Forest, Beacon 23, Killing Pretty and Queen of Fire.

Building a static site for an investigative journalism project

Things to consider when planning to build a site on a compressed time table.

How to learn things you’re not interested in

A simple tip to help you learn things your brain wants nothing to do with.

Yearning for the Cold War

The GOP base is searching for a new Evil Empire to fight.

The one sentence rule

Nic gets in touch with his inner life coach and offers up a simple rule to find out if an idea is good or not.

Digital hygiene for online security and safety

Nic provides some basic not-too-paranoid tips for securing your digital life.

Closing loops

It’s not how much you have to do, it’s how many things you’re doing at the same time.

Jade Helm and the fever swamps of patriotism

Did you know the U.S. government is planning to invade Texas? Well, it’s not. Nic attempts to explain.

How to install Jekyll on Amazon Linux

Installing Jekyll on an EC2 Amazon Linux AMI is easy. Here are the steps.