Tuesday, May 31, 2005

My name is not Kevin

For reason I do not fully understand, when some people read or hear my name -- "Kenneth" -- what they remember is the name "Kevin". It's bizarre, and it's been happening since at least high school (when I first became aware of the phenomenon). It happens in casual conversation, it happens in cover letters people send me for jobs and it happens when folks e-mail me at work. And when it happens, people are often steadfast in believing that somewhere, somehow, there really is a Kevin running around in my office, as though I have a similarly named clone running around doing my work for me (and mind you, up until recently, my work office was a one-man show -- there couldn't be anyone else here).

Why does this happen? I'm not sure. "Kevin" is certainly a more common name than "Kenneth", at least in New Jersey, and perhaps some people just default to the name that they're used to. The names sound somewhat similar, both beginning with a strong "K" sound, and while I think the full name's sound dissimilar, the "Kev" and "Ken" shorthands are pretty close. I am, however, admittedly close to the source here, so I'd be interested in hearing other people's theories on the mix up.

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Corruption of the Jedi

Ever since the release of the Phantom Menace I've seen a new meme slowly gathering strength in the circles of Star Wars fandom: the idea that, by the time of Palpatine, there was something deeply and structurally wrong with the Jedi, that they had -- perhaps unknowingly -- lose sight of their founding principles.

Reason has a good post (and discussion) about this called Late to the Sith Contrarian Ball, which discusses the nature of the Seperatist movement, and wonders -- as Padme does -- if the Jedi were on the right side.

Indeed, it seems now that the only way to defeat the evil that had crept into the heart of the Old Republic, and to overcome the stagnation of the Jedi Order, was to destroy that order and allow a new one -- one headed by the far less-manipulative, and far more sincere, Luke Skywalker -- to be founded.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

The Atomic Swindlers

I haven't written much about Nuketown lately, so this is just a quick post to say I've got a review of "Coming Out Electric", the first album by a sci-fi rock'n'roll band called (appropriately enough for the ol'thermonuclear burg) The Atomic Swindlers.

I'm working on a podcast that will incorporate some songs from the album, but a lingering hacking cough from my cold earlier this month, coupled with well, real life, has played havoc with my intentions. I'm hoping I can steal a few hours this weekend to knock it out, but Sue has grand plans for re-organizing the basement...

Thursday, May 19, 2005

"I, Jodan"

Major developmental accomplishment for Jordan: this week she finally began saying "Jordan" (or rather, "Jodan") when asked what her name is. For months upon months she'd say her name was "You" when asked, almost entirely because she thought it was funny. Then suddenly, last weekend when I asked her what her name was, she tenatively said "I Jodan!"

Now she says it every time, which is something of a relief for both Sue and I; at least now she has the remote possibility of telling people who she if she should ever get lost.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

"Dude, Where's My Printer?"

The Mac OS X Tiger annoyances continue. Last night, while trying to print out some documents, I discovered that both of my printers--a relatively know Canon photo printer, and a positively ancient HP LaserJet--had been purged from my PowerMac. I was able to restore the Canon using a generic printer driver (I'll be searching for an updated official one this weekend) but the LaserJet is a dicier proposition, as Mac OS X uses Print GIMP to connect.

It annoys me that this OS upgrade broke something so essential as printers, and given Apple's strength in publishing, it seems to me they should go out of their way to a) either not break printer connections or b) if they do break them, notify the user that they're gone. How hard would it be to run a system utility before the upgrade noting what devices were available, and then running a comparison utility after the upgrade to figure out which ones were missing ... and to then notify the user?

To me, it's all part of the emerging "Not Quite Ready for Prime Time" theme of Mac OS 10.4; yeah, it's got some neat features, but man, it could really have used six more months of refinement.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Drains Are Evil

So I'm giving Jordan a bath last night, and when we were done, I let the water out. All of a sudden she starts screaming in terror and tries climbing out of the tub, soaking me and most of the bathroom in the process.

"Oh yeah," Sue says later "I meant to tell you she's scared of the drain now."

We have no idea where toddler terror came from. For the year, ever since giving up her "baby bathtub seat", Jordan's happily played in the tub while the water ran out. It was like the countdown to the end; once there was no more water left, she had to get out of the tub. Suddenly though, the drain is evil. I can only assume that she's come to the conclusion that if the water goes down the drain, then maybe she can too.

Either that or she's been reading It while I wasn't looking.

The German Spamkrieg

I'm getting swamped with German spam at my work e-mail account, most of it connected to the 60th anniversary of World War II, some dealing with Muslims in Europe. Yahoo has a story about it; in a nutshell, someone re-engineered the Sober virus to send out a deluge of propaganda relating to the war, and discussing such subjects as the firebombing of Dresden by the allies and the "honor killing" murder of a Muslim woman in German by her three brothers, who were upset that she'd taken up western ways.

Some of its in German, some of its in English; all of it appears to be landing in my inbox. I've lost count of just how much spam I've received, but it's got to be over 50 messages since yesterday. That's huge for my work account, which rarely sees any spam (maybe 10-20 a day, if that). Strangely, my Nuketown accounts, which get hundreds of spam messages a day, haven't seen any of this German Spamkrieg.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Dark Side Rising

The tickets have been purchased, the pre-movie dinner plans have been arranged, and the line-waiting duties have been assigned. All is ready for the local premiere of Revenge of the Sith on Wednesday night. Now if only I didn't have to work on Thursday. Yeah, I'm going to be one hurting geek that day, even if the movie somehow doesn't suck....

Friday, May 13, 2005

Welcome to the Police State!

Earlier this week, the Senate passed a military spending bill with a vote of 100-0. The Democrats, perhaps remembering how Kerry was burned for his "voting for the war but against the spending" debacle, unanimously voted for the expenditure, thus proving that they are utterly incapable of being the opposition political party.

Why? Because nestled within this spending bill was something that they should have objected to (if for no other reason than the Republicans wanted it; I don't expect them to stand on principle). Specifically, they should have at least offered token resistance to the bill's "Real ID" provisions, which creates a defacto national ID card by establishing federal data standards for state ID (like drivers license) that will be used to connect to a centralized database. And yeah, you'll have to use this card to do, well, pretty much anything that involves the government. And given how Social Security information was used and abused by the public and private sectors, you can imagine others will try and use it too.

Yes folks, we have officially entered the "papers please" era. Or we will in two years, when the new laws' provisions kick into full effect.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Tiger's Claw

I broke down and got Mac OS X Tiger for my home Macs (its still en route for my work computers). The installation on my PowerMac went smoothly, but the iBook G3 was more problematic. For the first time ever during an upgrade, the installation refused to proceed on the first try, saying that "an error occured, please try again." Another try yielded similar results, so I decided to use Disk Utility to repair the permissions on the drive.

This worked, allowing me to install the OS, but when it rebooted and launched into Tiger for the first time, it hung at the opening "Apple" screen. After giving it an hour, I powered down the machine and rebooted again; this time it went off without a hitch and launched into Tiger.

So far, I'm liking it. Tiger seems more responsive than Panther on my iBook, and I was very pleased to see that Dashboard ran without a hitch on that laptop; I'd been concerned that it wouldn't have enough horsepower to handle it. Dashboard allows you to run a host of Widgets, which remain hidden except when summoned. I'm particularly liking the weather and TV widgets; no more running out to Weather.com or TVGuide.com for me; now I just have to hit "F8".

Spotlight--Apple's built-in desktop search--is nice and fast, but it's annoying that you can't save a Spotlight search as a Smart Folder (rather, you have to do a search through the Finder, which uses a more limited version of the Spotlight interface).

Monday, May 09, 2005

Mostly Human

My cold is all but over and it looks like the rest of the family has just about bested the bug as well. Sue spent the weekend at a Native American Pow Wow selling her jewelry and did pretty well, sales wise. Jordan and I visited on Sunday, and she got to ride a pony ... three times!

On the geek front, I'm playing my way through Knights of the Old Republic II, which happily doesn't lay on the liberal guilt trips quite as heavily as its predecessor and working on a bunch of new music and game reviews for Nuketown.

Yep, all in all it's been a pretty productive couple of days around the ol'burg -- it's amazing how much you can get done when you don't feel like you're drowning in your own bodily fluids.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

"Mommy always said there weren't monsters. Not real ones..."

I've officially reached "chest burster" portion of my cold, in which I feel like I'm hacking up large portions of my lungs, and generally feeling more miserable than any day since Tuesday (yes, given a choice between hacking and post-nasal drip, I'll take hacking any day).

I'd say I could sleep for a week, except that's not true; given the chance to sleep 9 hours last night, I was still up at 2:30 a.m. hacking, coughing and working on Nuketown. At least I'm a somewhat productive sick person...

Cute Bunny ... Let's Eat It!

And now something that has nothing to do with my cold.

Save Toby is an amusing site about a man, his lop-eared rabbit, and a threat to eat said rabbit if he doesn't get $50,000 by some arbitrary date. The hate mail is hilarious; nothing gets the PETA crowd up in arms quite so much as threatening to eat an animal for fun and profit. By all accounts, this is a hoax by the way; Toby keeps getting a repreive.

Awake and Lost

So it's 2:31 a.m. and I'm awake. This is despite the fact that I'm really, really tired, having not gotten enough sleep the last two nights because of my cold.

So why am I awake? I blame Lost. And my cold-addled brain.

For some reason, my brain got caught in a Lost feedback loop while I was asleep, and I woke to find myself mentally stumbling over various theories to explain the island and what's happening to its inhabitents. And arguing with myself over why different theories wouldn't work.

No, I don't remember any of those theories now. The only thing for me to do was to get up, do a little work on Nuketown and hope my brain would get distracted by some other, less interesting idea. This is all par for the course when it comes to my colds -- I've always have a series of very weird dreams when I'm sick, particularly after I haven't slept for a few days. The end result is a sort of endless night where my subconcious churns through dozens of ideas, and refuses to let any of them go. I end up in this state of quasi-sleep, half-dreaming, half knowing that I really don't need to worry about failing my driver's test any more.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

That Damn Cold

I thought I had dodged the cold bullet that's been richocheting around my house for the last two weeks, taking out Sue and Jordan. Unfortunately, I caught it -- and caught it hard -- this week. It started Monday night and by Tuesday I was just a miserable blob of geek hiding in his bed. I was somewhat better last night, but still spent more time watching Firefly or struggling through Knights of the Old Republic II than sleeping.

Fortunately, despite the lack of sleep, I'm feeling something close to human today although I continue to sound like crap. Hopefully I'll be able to stay awake long enough to watch Lost tonight...