VD Epoch 13

This year is the only time that VD will be coupled with the Unix epoch rolling to sequential number. Of course, the two are a few hours apart, but hey, any excuse to celebrate dorky geek trivia *and* being a more-or-less willing target for a heavily-armed, floating infant deserves a nod.

For the geek-deficient, here’s the executive overview:The epoch for Unix systems is 1/1/1970. To these systems, this date is the beginning of our current time. When you request today’s date, the create date of a file, or the last access date of a file, the system has that info stored as the number of seconds since midnight January 1, 1970. For the most part, this number is reformatted to the date style you are used to reading in your part of the world. Programmers, analysts, and administrators often use the raw number to do faster calculations of dates without t trouble of programming around things like leap years and daylight savings shenanigans. Yesterday evening, the number reached a sequential pattern. It’s like noticing that your car’s odometer has rolled to all 2’s (like mine did a few weeks ago)

Besides that, yesterday was Friday the 13th, and we have another Friday the 13th next month.
The new Friday the 13th movie was released last night. It’s supposed to be a remake of the first three in the series, so there should be lots of room for serious cheese. Hopefully, it will have some good scary, gory parts, and probably some t&a and drugs, but definitely a lotta cheese.

Oh, and on this VD, the floral industry would like to once again thank you all for creating an incredible demand for out-of-season product. They grow them artificially in greenhouses on another continent and ship them in at a premium, and them charge a premium to you. Thanks for looking out for the planet there. What if next year, everyone buys something local and in-season? Think of the transportation savings. Even more than that, think of how much fresher the flowers will be, since they won’t have spent so much of their little bloomin’ lives in a shipping crate. And you would be helping the economy in your own neighborhood.

That said, I’m going to share a non-mushy VD sentiment.
Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Well, I suppose it’s non-mushy. I didn’t actually poke at it to find out.

The Average user has spoken

The preliminary screenshots of Windows 7 look just like KDE, so the guys at zdnet labs did their own take on the microsoft mojave project:

Thought I’d share.


Today is the inauguration of Obama as the 44th president of the U.S.

I was having some discussions about the job that he’s undertaking, and wanted to put some things down.

The job is not easy, does not pay an amazing salary, and changes the life of the job holder for life.

The primary focus of today’s happenings in Washington D.C. is the transfer of office from GWB to Obama, and the main moment is when he is “sworn in”. The oath of office is really rather short:

“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

That sounds very simple and easy. It sounds like what military personnel, peace officers, and any public servant of any level would be striving to do. The second half, anyway.

The “office of the president” in basic, explicit terms is this:

“The power of the executive branch is vested in the President, who also serves as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. The President appoints the Cabinet and oversees the various agencies and departments of the federal government.”

This job is the embodiment of one-third of the government of the U.S. It’s the public vision of leadership and influence of a nation. It’s very different from similar posts found in other governments, with all the facets and responsibilities.

How does daily work of the US President affect your daily life? The policy he writes, the decisions made as far as the use of the armed forces, the diplomatic agreements made… It might not be immediate, but every president has made an impact in shaping things here in our melting pot.

what’s his daily life going to look like? Here is Time Magazine’s take.

rights, and lefts, tend to bruise

The day after the general presidential election, I saw two articles that sort of fragmented a lot of the feelings about the day’s events.
I was reading this article about the new hope, the new era, the transformation in the daily lives of everyone, everywhere. This grand news showing that people really are people, that americans are finally showing signs that racism is dying off, and that anyone from anywhere can truly contribute, make a difference, and succeed in this world….
And then I read
this article about a surprising, brutal murder of an interracial newlywed couple, about how nice they were, how hardworking, what team-players they were, and that the suspects were all part of his daily team.

Of course, these are anecdotes, but it seems that americans still have a long way to tread. Looking at Prop 8 in California, and a whole year’s worth of headlines about homosexual unions and the discussion, oh, the roundabouts about legalities and rights. There are a lot of times in these discussions where I feel like the battle is truly lost. Not the debate, mind you: once a line (or any other geometrical shape) is drawn in the sand, everyone starts working up their arguments for their “side”, which is a great exercise. Then when the debates start happening, everyone gets bogged down in sound bites (misappropriated quotations), and the brewing of more acerbic arguments, and *that* is when the battle is lost. That’s the point when I start feeling like the discussion stalls, and no-one involved has a clear view of the facts anymore. The focus becomes the fight, rather than on perspective. The whole issue then boils bown to simple, constant, refutiation of the “other side”, which never settles anything except each side claiming that they are right, and there isn’t any progress anymore.

the Zune

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Microsoft’s Zune is FAIL.

In the wee hours of this morning, all of the 30gb model Zune music players hit a system glitch. A power cycle will not clear it. There are some reports that opening the unit and pulling the battery cables off the connector will clear the situation, but a lot of users won’t be comfortable with that.
This comes after the lowering of the price of the Zunes, and immediately after Apple stated that in 2009, the prices for macbooks and ipods will be dropping.
Not exactly good timing for this kind of news.

Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t carry an ipod, either. I’ve been using mp3 players for much, much longer than there has been an “ipod” at all, when all mp3 players were referred to as, well, “mp3 players”. I have been getting some really excellent mileage out of the small, flash memory-based ones that can now be bought for very little scratch, and for that reason, you aren’t afraid of a system fail (if it ever did happen), and you aren’t terribly worried about it if you happen to leave it in sight somewhere, and you don’t really mind wearing it when doing housework, yardwork, or even working out.

These days, they all seem to have a lot of the same features: an FM tuner, alarm clock album cycling, true random play, FM recording via schedule, etc. It really comes down to the interface on the device and the capacity, and if you follow it at all, you know that memory costs next to nothing now. The last round of flash-based mp3 players I got (maybe eight months ago) all have microSD slots, which allow for massive expansion, and allow you to swap out your stock of tunes and podcasts on the run.

To everyone with a 30GB Zune: Your music player has passed its “freshness date” Return it to the manufacturer and ask for an upgrade.


I was thinking about the problem I’ve always had with wanderlust today. I have always wanted to travel widely, and in my younger days coming up, I read many novels and tales of traveling life, of faraway venues and diverse, lifelong friendships made along the way through thick and thin, seeing strange landscapes and both beauty and turmoil during the grand journey. I was studying the sciences during those years, and often imagined that at my age, I’d have seen quite a bit by this point in my life, what with business travel and yearly vacations.

I haven’t done any travel to speak of, a couple of business trips, and some road trips up and down the coastline. I haven’t made it out West, and definitely haven’t made it to the main targets of my wandering imagination. It seems that travel was just way out of reach for me financially, and during the times when the finances would have probably been okay, just having the time to go was a struggle.

I have several friends who have traveled widely, and they urge me to scrape something together and to “just go!”, which sounds great, and it’s sounding much better every time it comes up.

Facebook apps

I’ve been getting back in touch with a bunch of long-lost people lately on Facebook, which is the time that Social Media is at its very best.

I’ve been running into some issues lately with several apps (not just this one) where some of the basic functionality just does not work with Opera.

Facebook's apps are so fail, they have a standard warning text.
Facebook's apps are so fail, they have a standard warning text.

I’ve been using the Opera browser as my primary for about six or eight months, and it’s like riding a rocket, but things like that are ridiculous. Opera is more standards-compliant than any other browser, and you run into things like this. First guesses would be shoddy programming by apps developers, but I’m also starting to wonder if maybe it’s something in the FB API, since there is a standard display message about it.
It might have to do with the widget framework that they were harrowing to developers. It might be worth writing an FB app just to try to hit the Opera barrier.

Have any suggestions for an FB app? Leave ’em in the comments!

Today’s hit list

  1. Vote
  2. See results of polls
  3. Upgrade Opera on all machines to 9.62 (security patch for History and Links areas)
  4. Catch up on podcasts while waiting in line to vote
  5. Make space on DVR for new Dr Who series to start
  6. Recycle two more donated desktops to ‘net kiosks

Of course, this is all after the dawn-to-dusk work schedule and homework, bath and bedtime, as well as the sitting in the car.
Is everyone ready to make US History happen? Let’s rock!

What does *your* list look like today?