Coolest Halloween song ever

I was all set to do a rant about how I was so stupid as to sign up for a one-year contract with eMusic, so I couldn’t cancel immediately now that they’re in their new business model. But I found the coolest Halloween song ever there today, and since I’m still paying for the service I downloaded it there rather than paying $0.99 at the iTunes Store.

Anyway, the track: Philly Joe Jones’ Sextet: “Blues for Dracula”… with Lenny Bruce voicing the legendary count as some sort of beat vampire in the first half of the track. Dig.

Update: Looks like the track isn’t in the US iTunes store any more, but it’s still at eMusic.

So much for spam-free mailto

I was thrilled when UserLand rolled out the Spam-Free Mailto feature for Manila, which removed email addresses from my weblog’s UI and replaced them with a simple contact form. Should prevent spammers from finding me via my blog, right?

Well, except for really really dedicated spammers. I got the following mail this morning. Note the spam-free mailto features at the top.

UserLand, can we include IP address in the autogenerated mail?

Dr.Edward Thompson. [1] sent this email to you through Jarrett House North [2] regarding this page [3].


REF: HWS/200118308/03
BATCH: 18/203/JJS.
DATE: 31/10/2003



We are pleased to inform you about the release of today the 31st October, 2003 of the EURO-AFRO SWEEPSTAKE LOTTERY INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMMS held on the 28th Jenuary 2003, Your company name attached ticket number: 564 -75600545 – 188 with serial number 5388/02 drew the lucky numbers: 3-11-27-30-34 – 41, which consequently won the lottery in the 2nd category. You have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay out of UD$2MILLION in cash credited to file HWS/200118308/03. <snip>


…I got slammed today. Between the company meeting and the work I need to get done before I leave tomorrow, and trying to get the leaves up off the ground before I disappear for a weekend… I’m finally getting things done, just in time to get to bed and hop on the merry go round in the morning.

Man, do I need this vacation.


Ross Mayfield nails how I feel about autumn in Seattle, describing the effect of being in northern latitudes after the equinox:

In Estonia, where I lived once, its compounded by the fact that coming winter solstice the sun barely skirts the horizon and its basically dark except mid-day. A strange and wonderful cycle ensues. From summer solstice, the party of the year, on to Christmas people get a little depressed. From Christmas to party time moods heighten.

I miss the amazing glowing late afternoon light that used to come in early October afternoons in Charlottesville and Boston. The hardest thing about working right now is getting in with the light, and leaving after it’s dark. Plus the fact that there’s no late afternoon light most days.

For all that, I’m feeling pretty good compared to last year. Amazing what a change of job does. Not to mention good music.

Dining out, carryout

George has had some bad luck with Indian dining. I have higher hopes for the Italian place we’ll be visiting with them on Friday in North Beach (details afterwards; I don’t know ’em).

Meanwhile, we’re discovering the joys of cheap Asian food. Our latest foray was a Vietnamese place in the local shopping center that provided take-out pho for two for less than $15. Although we had figured out how to cook an inexpensive rice noodle and beef dish—a kind of faux pho, as it were—the real thing was impressively rich in flavor…and much quicker than making it ourselves.

I also enjoyed the return of Samuel Smith’s Winter Warmer, which got here early this year. As always, spicy, malty, and full flavored. I’ll try to do a fuller tasting when I don’t have taste buds slightly numbed by pho.

Reality distortion field

I have a question to the folks in the room at the PDC Blogger BOF session: I’m as .NET platform centric as the next guy, but in what universe are Das Blog and .Text the “dominant engines” for blogging? Perhaps there’s some context missing, but I have the funny feeling that the guys in the room have forgotten that there were people blogging before the .NET framework was even released. As Chris Pirillo says, to paraphrase, we need a third blogging and syndication standard like we need another hole in the head.

Gripes aside, I would like to see a reasonable estimate of how many blogs are on Das Blog and .Text, but I’m not sure how that can be done since they, like Movable Type or GreyMatter (or Manila) hosted sites, don’t sit on central servers. Maybe Phil Wolff’s BlogCount has some insight about how to do this?

Bush to USS Lincoln: “I tell you one time, you’re to blame”

Interesting little story: In his press conference today ,President Bush now disclaimed responsibility for the “Mission Accomplished” banner that greeted him when he landed on the USS Lincoln. He says now that it was the sailors on the Lincoln who put out that banner. But the New York Times, following the landing in May, said that it was Bush’s media coordinator Scott Sforza (paid link; copy of the article for free here) who did the deed.

Who’s telling the truth? Well, according to Bush’s own staff after his press conference, it isn’t the Commander in Chief. According to the article, “Lincoln’s crew asked the White House to have the sign made. The White House asked a private vendor to produce the sign, and the crew put it up, said the spokeswoman. She said she did not know who paid for the sign.” As Kos points out, regardless of who paid for the sign, the White House thought it was a good enough idea to act as a middleman with the private vendor who produced it.

More thoughts at Oliver Willis, Andrew Bayer, and the Clark campaign.

DMCA exemptions posted: wins for accessibility, libraries

The US Copyright Office has posted four classes of exemptions to the DMCA on its official website. The classes include:

  1. Compilations of lists of Internet sites blocked by filtering software (not including those blocked by systems that “operate exclusively to protect against damage to a computer or computer network” or “prevent receipt of email” (examples?);
  2. Computer programs secured by dongles where the dongle has malfunctioned or is obsolete (examples?)
  3. Computer programs and video games distributed in “obsolete formats” that require access to the original media to operate (e.g. copy protected games or other software that require access to the original disk)
  4. E-books, where all e-book editions of the work prevent having the book read aloud and prevent screen readers from reading the book aloud (Sklyarov, anyone?)

These exemptions appear to supersede the previous exemptions, which may be bad news because the new exemptions open some new ground while rolling back others. In particular the first exemption is more narrowly defined than the original version and seems to un-exempt email blacklists.

Additional discussion and anticipation of the ruling: Technorati. keeps rollin’ along hit another new high water mark last Thursday. The big peak we hit back in August has raised the bar for new high water marks, so the graph looks a little funky. From here there are two possible outcomes: stable growth resulting in infrequent high water marks that continue the apparent trend started in late August, or a continuation of the pattern to date of big jumps in the high water line. It all depends on three factors: how many people start new blogs; how frequently they update; and how frequently they abandon blogging.

exponential growth y=185406ln(x)-2E06

The high water data is an indicator, but I think work being done at BlogCount is more likely to answer some of the key questions. Data, as always, available here under a Creative Commons license.

View from a fogged window

The rain started a day early, dashing
hopes of keeping ahead of the falling
leaves. While the moving ahead of clocks
should bring more sleep it brings no more
daylight; the days are shrinking fast.


Urgh. I should know better than to try poetry, even free verse, out in public after a long hiatus…

Apropos of nothing, I’m starting to think seriously about taking up some woodworking projects for our home. Driven partly by our increasing need for storage, partly by the low attractiveness/cost ratio of prebuilt shelves, and partly—I confess it!—by articles about built-in bookshelves in This Old House magazine and on their website, I’m now fighting visions of magnificent wood Craftsman built-in bookcases in our third bedroom cum library.

This is of course compromised by the fact that I’m totally inexperienced in woodworking, and have no idea of what sort of design would be in keeping with the Craftsman bungalow architecture of that part of the house.

Research, here I come…


First Panther note: some of my scripts don’t seem to work under Mac OS X 10.3. Specifically, Look Up Current Track in iTunes doesn’t work and iTunes2Manila fails because it can’t connect to the Internet. Wonder if Apple changed how SOAP calls work…

Update: Changed or more precisely broke, it looks like, based on evidence from this MacScripter thread. Stay tuned…

And in other EMP news…

Looks like everyone’s favorite underattended Seattle rock and roll museum will be joined in June by another Experience…the Experience Science Fiction museum, to be “co-located” with EMP in the Geary building. Guesses as to which galleries it will displace in the EMP?

Impressive advisory board, too: Greg Bear, Gregory Benford, Ray Bradbury, David Brin, Octavia Butler, Orson Scott Card, Arthur C. Clarke, Freeman Dyson, Harlan Ellison, Lucas and Spielberg, Neal Stephenson, Kim Stanley Robinson, Majel Roddenberry… practically a Who’s Who (and still alive) in the field today.


Got a sore back and a sore arm from mulching the leaves in our side yard this afternoon. But it’s all good; I think the neighbor’s maple tree only has one more good yard-blanketing left for the season.

We spent much of the rest of the weekend working on other projects around the house. I’m finally getting around to tacking up all the loose cords in the living room, putting trim in the spare closet, helping Lisa clean up her home work area…in short, screwing around. Blissfully.

If not for a phone call from Esta, who was tailgating prior to the Virginia homecoming game (thank you, Troy State, for breaking our two-game losing streak), the random decision after a day of driving around to have dinner at Orrapin Thai in Queen Anne, installing Panther, the appetizers at Triple Door to the music of Nick Vigarino (who?) with Arvind and Kim followed by dinner and salsa lessons at the Liquid Lounge

Ok, it wasn’t such a bad weekend after all.