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.


I ran into some bnking issues lately. The bank issued a new bank card to me, and I put it aside, waiting for the randomly-generated PIN to arrive. Another week rolled by, and one day, my old card just stopped working entirely. I’m sure that it was a scheduled event in order to secure the account. Of course, this happens when I’m on fumes, trying to fuel up and get to work on time.

Security is always good, and there are tons of new standards being rolled out to increase the security of our data these days. If you are in IT, healthcare, banking, etc., you are aware of the endless acronyms and how much of a headache people are having converting over, and training everyone to comply. Some of these headaches make it easy to dismiss the projects entirely, but these changes are so necessary in our current day.

Speaking of ATM cards, this video is pretty nuts…

“This trip is gonna be great, Betsy! Let’s just stop by the ATM for some cash and then hit the road…”

Sometimes the security measures put into place can seem overbearing and draconian, but don’t you feel more secure?

Your nature walk is now “secure”.
A Secure Walk in the Woods

Social Network Outages, oh my!

We were talking earlier today on Pownce about a lot of the micro-blogging and social “heartbeat” networking sites having periods of downtime lately.

It’s probably just some growing pains as more people start to use them. And since they are all more of a “pulse” setup, they are using the networks differently than a page of information at a time.

I think it was Friday, Twitter was unresponsive, then yesterday, Pownce and then the early morning hours, the same thing happened with Jaiku. They all seem to working just fine now.

Does anyone remember a recent outage at Mahalo Follow? Anyone? Beuller?

There are a lot of different social networks out there, and I’m starting to see a lot of splintering. I hope that we start to see some integration tools soon to help us stay connected and also to not have a deluge of information. Everyone has their own personal limit for information dump, and these networks can certainly cause a flood. I’m supposing that with some open API’s, we would start to see a lot of cross-network functionality. updating your “status” in one place will update that status in Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc etc at once, and people who are following you or on your friend list in more than one place would only get a single alert or, optionally, none at all. I’d like to see options for some of this integration, but not necessarily a snowballing effect on social networking as a whole. It’s important that the users are able to separate and maintain “public” and “private” identity as well.

A good example would be to never automatically update linkedin from anything added at facebook or myspace. At least until companies stop cyberstalking, and hire people based on their skills and experience. This might take another few years, and two or three more Petite Anglaise stories, but I definitely hope it comes soon. Not that I have anything to hide: I link everything together. I just know a lot of people who have the need to hide their personal lives from their employers, and I find that incomprehensible.

Then there’s another whole ball of wax when you start to think of integrating dating sites.

I found an article at LLRX that gives an intro to social networking sites and tiny bit of history, just in case you are one of my “less-than-technical” readers.

The kids, they are…alright(and accidently high as a kite)

We have all been shocked and amazed lately with news stories about harmful substances making their way to our kids, including all those issues with lead paint used on toys imported from China. Then there are strange stories where drugs are ingested unknowingly by kids, hidden in baked goods or Hallowe’en treats.
Today, Mouseclone and I were looking at the story where the ‘treat’ giver openly shared his stash, and go the ‘trick’ of going to jail for his kindness.
Just today also, they are finding issues with the wildly popular Aqua Dots play sets, that I have been watching over the past few weeks, as A wanted one for her birthday. I’m now glad that I had pushed the purchase back another week after seeing the news of the recall:

The Bindees (in Australia) and Aqua Dots are manufactured in Australia, and an unknown number of batches of the actual dots have a different solution on them than what is supposed to be used. If, as children are wont to do, a kid puts them in their mouth, or swallows one/some from these tainted batches of dots, The stuff goes through a chemical reaction in the digestive tract, and becomes a nice whoppin’ dose of Gamma Hydroxybutyrate!

I’m glad to see the companies involved stepping up to the plate, and getting them all off the shelves so quickly. Online retailers have temporarily pulled the product as well, until the bad dots can be rounded up, and safety measures put into place. Good on ya, mates!

Oh. The Gamma Hydroxybutyrate. Yeah. That’s known in pharmacology as GHB, a controlled substance. It is illegally trafficked under the name “fantasy” or “liquid ecstasy”, and is sought after by devious creeps everywhere as an effective date-rape tool. Nice.

So now, the kids are getting lead poison from the toys, getting pot during trick-or-treating outings, and getting hallucinogenic sedatives from creative toys… I would imagine that this generation is going to have similar experiences as college-aged kids did in the early Sixties…. Feelin’ groovy?

I do hope that they get this sorted out soon, though. We are looking forward to (safely) being able to arrange the colored dots and bond them together with water. It looks like fun, mess-free play time with neat-looking craft results.

Google: cash rocket!

Google stock hits 600 USD

I don’t do any sort of stock investing, but this is really big news. I knew that it would happen, but just seeing the numbers seems surreal. Heavy investing in Google ads have sent Googles’ stock roaring through the roof.

I’ve always been impressed with Google as a company. Their out-of-the box management model should be the one that all companies use for their knowledge staff.

How they get the best and brightest to work for them here

If you haven’t seen google finance before, it’s really neat, by the way. Click Here to open the page for jsut the “GOOG” stock. it’s interesting how the value graph is zoomable, and there are marked points on that graph, showing news stories to the right that may have had a bearing on the stock rising or falling. The related blog posts and enough stats to choke your average accountant, and you have lots to look at for any sort of casual, fantasy, or serious investing you might be doing.

The same info page at Yahoo shows a good graph and the headlines, and of course, a lot of the same information, but it just doesn’t seem to be cross referenced in one view the way that the Google page is. I did notice that there is a beta graph on Yahoo that is much more robust and AJAXed out, and I really like some of the features, lik having the main competition for whatever company you are looking at listed just to the left, as well as benchmark indexes.

Of course, I’m looking at these without any background in investing, and knowing only the bare basics of what the stats on these pages mean.
They both are much nicer, friendlier, and approachable than what you see on the “serious” investing sites. I mean, look at this one… …sheesh!