July 2002 Archives

Ya Gotta Love Pud ...

aka Phil Kaplan. First off he went and started fucked company. He then went and wrote a book about the dot com bomb. Well, now he has come up with a whole new way to piss off companies. He's started a new site, internalmemos.com. It's a site containing internal memos that he has received from people. The NY Times put out an article all about this site.

I find this most amusing since about a year ago someone from my former company sent one of these internal memos over to Pud. It even made it to the new site and you can see it here.

I find it all amusing. It will be VERY interesting to see how many times he gets sued or at least have legal action threatened against him. We'll just have to watch.

Oh yeah, the last reason to like Pud, he's a Dream Theater fan and is on the Ytsejam mailing list :)

A Strange Weekend ...

It was definitely a strange weekend newswise. First off, on Saturday, I heard about the airshow crash in the Ukraine. It now seems that they are holding some military officials on charges that they made errors in preparing for the show. Some of the pictures I saw of this, including the ones on that cnn page, as well as this one., this one, and this one. Very scary stuff. I can not imagine being witness to something like that happening. Sad to see people trying to enjoy themselves and a tragedy such as this happening.

The next piece of news was a much happier one. One that I hope can inspire people. That of course would be the news of all nine miners making it out alive. I have to say, I was very sure that there was no chance of them coming out alive and when I saw something flash by on the TV this morning I was amazed. It was a real nice feeling to see that both the people ground and the miners trapped below never gave up hope and in the end triumphed. Just a very happy story.

I think its weird the contrast in the two stories. First off, you have 83 people killed in a tragic accident and then you have 9 people who I would say were almost assumed dead come out alive. It's both tragic and inspiring. I think it also has to make you think that you never know when your time will be up. I mean, imagine going to an air show to see some cool plan stunrts and end up dead or even just injured. Not at all of what you were planning. It really makes you think about what should be important in your life.

Lots more hacking ...

Well, I spent a lot of the day today working on my Dream Theater web site. I've been working on it locally to get it all set up before I actually unleash it on the world. If you want to take a look at what I have so far, it's here. The funny part about me actually working on this site is that I have let it sit and rot for about 4 years now. With all the work I have been doing lately on this site, I decided I might as well try and get it back in order. If I say so myself, it looks pretty good so far.

I still have a lot of plans for it. I really want to get it all set up and try and keep it up to date. Since web sites have become somewhat of my obsession as of late, its worth the effort and is a good learning experience.

Well, back to the movie ...

One last change ...

I upgraded Movable Type (the software which runs this section of the web site) from version 2.0 to 2.21 this evening. Please let me know if you see any problems with this section of the site. Thanks!

Some more updates ...

I did a bunch more updates to the web site tonight. First off, I hacked up some more code, so that the top level page now shows excerpts from last 5 stories in My Junt. Hopefully this will be good enough to be information for the top level page.

I also added links for a links section, boston section, and software section. So far, there is nothing on there. I am going to put the CD information software up there at some point in the next couple of days. I just want to clean it up some, add some configuration files, etc. Oh, and add the GNU Public License to the whole thing.

Lastly, I added a bunch more CDs to the CD Collection, which is now up to 359 CDs! I guess I am at least more then a third of the way through. Fun fun :)

Keep on Bloggin' Baby .....

I read an article last night in the print version of Information Week. It was an article all about blogging. The author started out by talking about the history of blogs and what people use them for, etc.

It then went on to talk about blogging for use within a company. This part peaked my interest. It did because my former company was a rather collaborative company. I enjoyed working in this environment and I started thinking about the best way to apply the idea of blogging. The author talked about a number of different ways, some of which were also the way I was thinking of it.

The first way the author talked about it was having each person have their own personal blog within the company intranet. This thought sounds ok, but I think this would get unwieldy, as well as could turn in to another form of chat. Though people would be free to express their ideas, it could turn in to soap boxes or just plain talk all day.

The second way, I sort of split in to a few different ways in my head. The idea was to have a company wide blog where people would be able to post thoughts/ideas/etc and let people reply to them. My thought for this would be one of two things. Either, have a very categorical (is that a word?) blog, where there would be an HR category, a QA category, etc. The other idea would be to have it split up so that there would be seperate blogs for each of these.

Working in a shop right now where there are software developers, hardware developers, support people, qa, and all the other regular functions of a company, it would be nice to seperate these as most people would not be interested in issues regarding some of these areas. I think some would be of interest to all though.

Think about a marketing blog within a company. People could post their ideas for marketing and then they could be argued (err, discussed) among other people within the company. From there they would have a chance to expand and build to something which could be a really good idea built on a lot of people's thoughts. I could see this as a very nice way to try and get ideas flowing from lots of different people.

Another idea (which came somewhat directly from the article) would be a support blog. The people in support could write articles about experiences they have had while at customer sites and other support people could add other information. Also, people in development and QA could help with the problems experienced by both adding solutions or fixing the problems or possibly adding test cases to make sure this is tested for in future releases.

All in all, I think blogging within a company could prove very helpful. My biggest worry would be that people could get so engrossed in it, that it would take away from their work.

The last note to this, while surfing today, I found Blogroots. The people over there are in the process of writing a book all about blogging. On their website they are currently publishing chapters online. The chapter that is currently online is all about blogging in business. I have yet to read it, but it could be an interesting read.

Can I tell you how much this scares thes shit out of me?

The bill talked about in that article on CNET basically says that if the RIAA or MPAA suspect you are involved in some sort of peer to peer sharing of copyrighted material, they have the right to do whatever they can to stop the P2P network. According to the article the bill does not specify what means are too far. This means that a DOS attack or a virus or just plaing hacking in to your machine and doing an rm -rf / would all be LEGAL. Also, there is a clause in it that you must ask the US Attorney General for PERMISSION to sue them if they destroy stuff on your system which is worth more than $250. If they just destroy ten years of e-mail, it doesn't have a monetary value and even if you could point to one, the AG could still turn down your request. This frighten me badly.

The reason this scares me the most is that some people could create a peer to peer network to share their own works, or works of bands that allow copying of certain material (ala Phish or the Grateful Dead). If you get involved with a group like this and the MPAA/RIAA get wind of it and decide you are not doing what you say you are doing, they could go and attack your machine. Basically, they would have the right to attack anyone they wanted as long as they had some level of suspicion. To me, that means noone's machine is safe. Someone breaks in to your unix box and starts causing trouble, the next thing you know, you have the MPAA or the RIAA breaking in to cause even more trouble. This could end in a very vicious cycle.

The rather hypocritical part about this is that they want to do what they are so against. They want to use illegal means to stop the illegal activities that are being perpetrated against them. The amusing part to me is that they don't want to get in trouble for it, but they want the people they are doing illegal things to, to get in trouble, if they find what they were looking for.

Here's an even more interesting point. The police cannot search your house without a warrant. Why should my electonic "house" be searchable by someone who is not even in some level of law enforcement because they decided that they saw something which made them suspicious. I think that's the best argument against that I can think of. Imagine the police were allowed to enter your home at any time for any reason they wanted. I mean, I have long hair, I must be doing drugs, so therefore, I would have the police stopping by on a daily basis to check my place for drugs. I think that would be a very scary world to live in.

Well, enough complaining. Hopefully this has no chance of going through, but if it does, make sure you have every security update possible on your systems, your routers, etc.

More Updates ....

I've gotten a lot more CDs in to the CD Collection over the last few days. I'm up to almost 300 now. The sad part is that besides all the random (probably 100 or so) CDs that I have put in so far, I have only put 5 shelves of CDs in. This is sad because I have 14 more to go. Ugh.

The biggest thing I did get done tonight was do a lot of cleanup to my CD information grabbing software. I was getting errors, that I was just dealing with and then getting some very strange reads from some CDs. Through some debugging I was able to figure out why this was happening and now have a pretty strong program. Keep an eye out for it to show up off the homepage.

Going Digital?

Hmmmmmm ... I had a flyer at my front door this evening when I arrived that piqued my interest. It was from AT&T Broadband and it said that they would be upgrading my cable switch in the next 48 hours. Does this mean what I think it means??? Does this mean that I soon could enter the world of AT&T Digital Cable??? Oh, how happy that would make me. Well, a good way to start the evening.

More Web Updates

I spent a bunch of today doing more work on my website of which this is a part. The main thing I did was do some design on the the top level page. I really did not like the look of the top level page, especially the graphics I had put up there. I also didn't like the background color I was using for the side bar. I played around some and game up with a design I like alot more.

I also added a ton of links on the top level page, mostly to sites outside of skadz.com. This includes a lot of my friends sites, my Dream Theater site, some wish lists on sites, etc. I also added in the freshmeat content in addition to slashdot, which was already there. I got rid of the ugly weather underground banner which was on top. I really would have like to keep something from them up, but they don't really have any banners which are all that nice looking.

The second big thing I did was to match up this section of the site with the top level page. I initially tried to switch the sides, so the info bar would be on the left, like the top level page, but that was a disaster. Nothing lined up right. But, in the end, just getting all the colors and look to match up makes me happy.

Hopefully this week, I will do a few things:

a) Get more CDs in to my CD collection
b) Add an editing programming to the CD Collection software
c) I'd like to make up some sort of software page, to put things like my CD Collection software and CD info grabbing software
d) Do some updates, like dupe checking, to the CD info grabbing software
e) Add a Boston page, basically about the things I like to do in Boston
f) Add a links page, basically a ton of links to the place I visit often, maybe put a top 5 or top 10 links on the home page
g) Figure out something to put on my top level page, maybe even the latest update or something from this side

Oh and I will probably figure out all sorts of other stuff to do. And of course, there is re-doing all of dreamt.org. That is definitely a top priority on my list. Well, I should hit the sack.

Back in Black

Last night, I got a couple of movies from Netflix, so I decided to throw one in and lay down to try and take a nap (yesterday was not a good day at all). I had Shallow Hal and Orange County. Both being Jack Black movies. I am a big fan of his, especially in his music group Tenacious D. I decided upon Shallow Hal to throw in first.

This movie was pretty much what you would have expected. A couple of rather odd characters, situations in it like a man who walked on his feet and hands. All in all, not a bad movie, but I didn't think it had many real Jack Black moments. Definitely worth the rent, but don't think it would be a movie I would watch over and over again.

Still up when the movie ended, instead of being sound asleep as the hope had been. I flipped on the Red Sox game for a while, watched Ozzfest Uncensored (which seemed kind of old), and basically just channel surfed. I soon enough landed on another Jack Black movie, High Fidelity. I saw this in the theaters a few years ago with some friends and enjoyed it then, so I watched some of it for a while. Finally, I decided I would throw the other movie in.

Orange Country was rather amusing. Jack Black definitely had many more moments like you would have expected from him. I enjoyed this movie alot. I thought all the characters were real good and the acting was rather good, especially since alot of the main characters were somewhat newcomers. I thought the ending was a bit cheesy, but other than that, I thought it was a great flick.

The Idiot Box ...

So, yesterday, as per usual on Sunday, I spent much of the day on my couch in front of the TV. I usually just end up watching sports (Red Sox or NASCAR) and then just flipping channels to kill time the rest of the day while I either play on my computer or drift in and out of sleep. Yesterday there was some exception to the normal rules, I actually watched a movie and then a comedy special on HBO.

A little background here, I am a member of Netflix, which is an AWESOME service, but as of late, I have not been really watching the movies they send me and it started feeling like a waste of money, so I told myself I was definitely going to watch at least one of the 3 movies I had laying around.

I had three movies laying around. Drawing Flies (a View Askew flick), which I had already watch half of and really had not found it all that good, The Others, which looks awesome and what I have watched of it looked interesting, and 13 Ghosts which I knew little about, but I was not convinced it would be all that good.

Since I was in a mood to use as little brain power as possible (and since I knew I would be semi-distracted by computer, random house stuff, and shiny objects), I figured 13 Ghosts would be my best bet.

I threw it in and watched, somewhat, and in the end was really not impressed. First off, I thought the story was somewhat lame and it seemed like they focused way too much on showing cool looking ghosts rather than any semblance of a plot. Also, in the scene with Shannon Elizabeth getting attacked by a ghost which was ripping her clothes off, there was no gratuitous nudity. I was somewhat saddened by this. (Yes, I know I could always throw in American Pie). In the end not really worth the watch. The funny part was that while doing some other stuff around the house I watched the documentary that was on the DVD and it made it sound like a much more interesting movie than it really ended up being. I guess that's what happen when you go from vision to reality.

Now, I figured after watching this, I would also throw in The Others, but while channel flipping I landed on the Robin Williams HBO special. Supposedly it was live from New York. I'm not sure if that was a taped "live" or real live. This kept me very entertained for the hour and a half plus it was on. I have not seen much of his stand up comedy in the past, but have always found him funny in movies and when making television appearances. This stuff was freakin hilarious. I realized while watching that he is a very smart person and is definitely up on current events. He was able to go from Jesus and Bible stuff to the current Afghan crisis (and using the Unabomber to catch him ;). If this comes on HBO any time in the future, I definitely suggest watching it.

Well, that concludes TV time for now.

Phil and Friends

I went to see Phil and Friends on Saturday at the Tweenter Center in Mansfield, MA. Don and I headed down to the show around 1:30 as it was a 4PM show and the lots would be open by 1.

This show was very badly planned for Don and I, since I was up in the air about going. Normally we are very prepared for shows and have a full list of things we want to have. This time, we actually had to stop in the store in Mansfield to get some more supplies.

Once we got to the lot, we set up our chairs and our cooler. The side of the lot we were in was rather slow. There were some people, but nowhere near as crowded as I would have assumed. I think maybe some people went in early to catch the opening acts. The opening acts were Mickey Hart's world music band and Robert Hunter. We decided to skip them and enjoy the lot. The lot was pretty slow, but it seemed like a pretty good crowd. We made a friend who came over and sat with us for a while, since he was waiting for his friends to show up. We chatted music and other such stuff. He eventually went to find his friends and Don and I went out in search of tickets.

Yes, in search of tickets, we decided to do this show a little different than normal and try and skip the Ticketmaster fees. We headed to the front of the venue and found no one offering tickets. We headed down to Shakedown, and there were people selling a lot of what you would expect at a Dead-like show, but still no tickets. So, we headed over to the box office. We asked the guy if he had tickets in the shed, he said, sure, and pointed to them on the seating chart. They were dead center, 20 rows back. Sweet! That worked out rather well.

We headed in to the show about 6:30 and wandered around for a bit. We checked out the merchadise. I actually went and bought a $30 t-shirt, but I liked it. I don't have a lot of "hippe-wear", so getting an additional tie dye every once in a while isn't a bad thing.

When we got to the seats, we found we were in with the lifers. I think I was the youngest person in the area by at least 10 years (not including Don). I get a kick out of these people, since they seem like nice older people, but are sitting and smoking weed and dancing away once the band comes on. Very amusing, but I totally dig them.

The show itself was ok. Mickey Hart played the first 30 minutes or so with them (I guess Phil also came out for the last 2 songs with Mickey). That part of the show was quite possibly the best of the show for me. Some of the newer stuff does not lend itself as well to dancing around and is kind of slow. The second set was very much a spacey jam for a lot of it and the band seemed to lose itself a few times over the course of it. Though I could appreciate the muscianship up there, I didn't dig the show as much as I have in the past.

After the show, Don and I just headed to our respective houses. I was exhausted from a long night the night before and then a full day.

The setlist was:

Set 1: *Jam>
*Crazy Fingers>
*Uncle John's Band> *China Cat Sunflower>
*I Know You Rider
Patchwork Quilt
The Wheel>
The Real Thing
*with Mickey Hart

Set 2: Jam>
Darkstar V1>
Again and Again>
Spacey Jam>
The Eleven>
Darkstar V2>
Spanishy Jam>
Lady With A Fan> Jam>
Morning Dew>
Terrapin Station> Jam
She Said, She Said

E: Box of Rain

Last night I went to see Rush at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. My buddy Brian and I went and had eigth row
seats. His parents are patrons of SPAC, so they are able to get tickets early for shows. Though we ended up not
being the REAL eighth row, due to about 4 rows of folding chairs in the orchestra pit, they were still amazing seats.

Brian had headed down to his parent's house on Wednesday to spend some time with the family, so I got up Saturday
morning and drove down to his house just south of Albany. This drive will produce some more rambling later on,
trust me. I got down there around 1:30. We hung around the house for a while and then drove up to Saratoga. We
checked out the state park to see if we saw any gatherings of fans which Brian had heard rumors of on the net. We
found none, so we headed in to town for a bit and wandered around. Lots of little stores that our mom or sister
would enjoy, but nothing that reall thrilled us. We then headed over to Bruno's where my cousin works
to grab some dinner before the show. After an EXCELLENT meal there, we headed over to the show.

Brian's parent being patrons once again worked in our favor, since we were allowed to park in the patron's lot
which is right next to an alternate entrance and away from the rest of the lots. We wandered around the grounds
for a couple of minutes and then headed in to the show.

The crowd at the show was VERY interesting. Having been a Rush fan for many years and meeting many others
(mostly through the Ytsejam), I think I expected a lot of people who really knew music and generally listened
to good music most of the time. I was wrong, I guess. There was a fair amount of white trash there, a number of
frat boy types, a bunch of groups of teenagers who seemingly not fans, and then the group that I expected. It
always makes me wonder when I see people at shows who don't seem to belong there. I would never go to
a Backstreet Boys show or something and not expect to get lots of strange looks. Though I do like to go to
a wide variety of shows, I still think I fit in to some extent at all of them.

Brian and I located our seats and sat down. We chatted with a guy sitting next to us about some summer shows
(definitely one of the types I expected at the show). Soon after we sat down, the lights went down and the
band came out. Since I don't want to ruin the setlist for anyone reading this who doesn't want to know, I'll
just say it was FREAKIN AWESOME. You can find something which is pretty close to what we heard
over on Rush At Resist.

The band definitely sounded very good and we're all in sync. Alex seemed a bit wacky with his dancing around
at points, but it was amusing. Neil was in the back, looking all too serious, but kicking ass every second of the
show. Geedy had some good banter for the crowd and seemed to be having a great time up there. Actually,
besides Nei l and his constant stone face, the band looked like they were having a blast. All in all, that guy,
that guy, and the most handsome man in the world and leader of the band sounded great, you definitely could
not tell they had been off for 5 years.

The band played 2 sets, the first went about an hour and twenty minutes (7:40-9) and the second went about
and a little more than an hour (9:15-10:25) with a 10-15 minute encore. The video screen and lights at the
show were awesome. I would say they were almost worthy of Phish at points. One of my favorite was the
video just before the beginning of the second set.

After seeing the show, I am definitely considering heading to the show here at Great Woods ... errr ..
The Tweeter Center
in Mansfield, MA, even if I am heading there on Saturday for Phil and Friends.

Web Updates and Hacking ...

So, I did a bunch more work on my CD Collection application that I am working on today. First off, I got my CDDB
(actually FreeDB) interface all up and working. Thanks to David Schlutz, the author of Net::FreeDB who
helped me out with a couple of problems I was having with his module. I now have a perl script which will
grab information off of a CD in my computer CD player, contact FreeDB and get any possible matches, let
me select which match I want to use and them take a few more pieces of information from the user and then
insert all of the information about the disc and its tracks in to a mysql DB. Neat little app and will make catalogging
my CD collection a lot easier. I also did some work on the web front end to the database and now I have pages to
view artists by letter, view the artist and view albums. I only have put 1 disc in the DB so far, so there isn't much,
but it will be coming soon.

I have started to do some hacking in the last few days for the first time in a while. I really had not done a ton
of programming as of late, pretty much since I lost my last job. I have realized while doing the stuff I have been
doing in the last few days that I missed it. Hopefully this will lead to me getting some more stuff up and
running here on skadz.com, but also on my Dream Theater site over at www.dreamt.org.
If I could get that site back up and useful, it would be really nice.

I think my next few updates here on this site are going to be finishing up some more work on the CD Collection
software such as searching for stuff, reviews (both by me and user writable), and some graphics ability (album
cover art and the like). Also, I would eventually like to customize MT over on this part of the site some more.

Well, that's about where I am so far. I am one of the few people in the US who actually is going to work
tomorrow, so I can't hack too late :)

moe and Les Claypool

I went to see the band moe this weekend. Les Claypool's Flying Frog's Brigade opened up for them. I was there more
to see Les than moe (as I am a huge Primus fan). The nice part of the show was that Les and crew ended up playing
for over an hour and a half, so I got my money's worth before moe even came on. The bad part is I am still unsure
of how I feel about the Frog's Brigade. I definitely like Les and having him come out with moe for a bit proved
to me that he can handle the "jam band" situation well. I just am iffy on the rest of his band. Actually, its more
just the sax player I am iffy on. I think the percussionist and drummer (HERB!!!) were excellent, the guitar
player didn't thrill me, but at the same time, he didn't seem to be there too, but the sax player, man, I just can't
seem to be very happy about. I basically don't like all the distortion and effects he puts on his sax. Why can't
he just play sax and enjoy it instead of making all this wierd noise with it? I also think some of the stuff that
they put out is not in the normal "jam band" genre and that takes away from it somewhat for me.

Having never seen moe before, I went in with no opinions whatsoever of them. I came out with a very good
opinion of them. Someone had said to me they felt like the bass player was trying to do too much, but I
thought it worked well in the context of the music. When Les came out for the last song of the first set,
I really felt the double bass solo really shined. I definitely dug their music and will go to see them again in
the near future if possible. Another nice thing was that they teased The Who alot of the night including doing
a verse of Pinball Wizard near the end of the set.

The best part of the night was that it was GORGEOUS out. My buddy and I were up near the front for Les,
as it was general admission (with seats) and then just hung out at the tables in the back during the moe sets.

Definitely an enjoyable night, but I am still iffy on how I feel about the Flying Frog's Brigade.


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