December 2004 Archives

While I'm no Jim Winstead I used the Amazon Honor System yesterday to give to the Red Cross. "1-click donation". Very easy. Go do it already. Vani found a PDF or some such at the site detailing how they are spending the money - most importantly they don't spend an unreasonable amount on paper pushing.

When I gave 18,000 people had given a total of $900,000 via the Amazon system. Now it's at close to $3,000,000 from 50,000 people.

If you don't want to give to the Red Cross, you can maybe give a little money to Doctors Without Borders.

Windows 2000From the "my weblog as my personal mailinglist" department:

I have a laptop where we just installed Windows 2000. Shortly after installing it, it started hanging during boot. It gets about 60% through the "Starting up ..." screen and then stops. It boots fine in "Safe Mode with Networking". I used that to upgrade it to SP4 and whatever other updates Microsoft wanted it to get. What to do? How can I figure out what makes it hang? I'd just reinstall it, but it took forever to install all the updates and I worry that it'll just do the same thing on a fresh install.

I tried booting with logging and then looking in the ntbtlog file, but that seemed pretty useless. At least to my untrained eye. (Great log format, with no timestamps and no verbose information...)

I also tried enabling VerboseStatus, but that didn't seem to do anything at all.

(I just need it to run one program; which one will be the subject of another posting soon. No, that one program doesn't work in Virtual PC 7 on the Mac or in VMware on Linux).

Yes, I see the irony, go away.

How to fix Mom's computer

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Here in the house the solution is get a mac, but if that's not in the cards then Gina Trapani's guide is brilliant: How to fix Mom's computer.

On How Doctors Get paid


Joe Stirt (who's an anesthesiologist) writes about how strange it is that a bad, even terrible, doctor gets paid as much as a good one.

Medical care is one of those very strange parts of the economy where you get paid no matter what the quality of the service you provide.

don't panic

There's a teaser trailer out for the Hitchhikers Guide movie. It's unclear if the drooling should begin or if it's mere blasphemy. The teaser isn't enough to make me drool.

If you have an iPod, then The Complete Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy from BBC can't be recommended enough. (The MP3 version is getting bad reviews for sound quality, but I can't find the "regular audio CD" set...)

There's also a new trailer for Dark Water. It's a remake of the fantastically scary Japanese movie of the same name. If the remake is as creepy as the original, you won't think of water the same way for a while after watching it...

pgpPGP Inc setup a "Verified Key Service". How did I find out? Because they sent me semi-spam mail to "verify my key". Not a good start...

Curious I went to their site and told them not to add the key ID they sent me, as it's a key I don't use.

I tried to add my pgp key to their server, but they told me that they don't support "v3 or older" keys. I've had my key since 1996 and I'd really rather not go through the hassle of changing it, thank you very much. (On a side note: I have considered it though, it being only 1024 bits and all).

Anyway, that's not the foolish thing. The point of PGP is that by encrypting and signing the keys, we don't have to trust that the other end of the communications email address has not been compromised. However, the "verified key service" pseudo-"verification": is relying on, tada, that your email account hasn't been compromised. They are just sending an unencrypted email to your email account and asking you to click the link. No sending a signed mail back or being able to decrypt an encrypted mail.

Is it worse than the regular PGP key servers? Technically no. The difference is that the regular key servers are not claiming to have "verified keys" other than your regular web of trust.

Someone on the gnupg-users list argued that it's useful to weed out inactive keys, which I certainly agree with. But they shouldn't call it "verified keys", but "active keys" or some such.

A better another automatic email checker and signer: RobotCA. The RobotCA encrypts the email you are supposed to confirm and thus ensures that the reader of the email has the secret key and is able to use it.

Moved, sorta

We got moved last weekend. We got the last load hauled inside a little before eleven sunday night. To say we were tired would be quite an understatement. The old place had stairs up to the street. The new place has stairs down from the street. Stairs down are much easier, so unless one of our neighbors move I don't see how we can get out of here.

Almost two weeks ago when we got the keys and started doing work here and moving a few things, the gas was turned off and we tried to heat up the house a little with the fireplace. Not much luck with that! It was nice and warm right next to it, but it didn't heat up the house much. I would take a picture of the fireplace, but currently it's well hidden behind layers of boxes. It's built to look pretty with burning wood inside, not to actually make the house warm -- which when you think about it is about right most of the year here.

The guy from the gas company came last Wednesday to turn on the gas and he told that it was the coldest day in 90 years. No wonder we were so happy to see him.

Of course a few days later we were back to summer like temperatures.

I think I could feel moved in even with a pile of boxes in a corner just fine. If you consider having wireless covering the whole house all moved in, then we are all set. We haven't finished part of the house we'll use for office space, so I'm not yet setup properly with the powermac and big monitor and all that, rather just on my nice chair in one of the bedrooms with the laptop (mostly). Not so great, but the view out the window is nice.

We taught one of the cats to run up the stairs when we go in through the front door and say "up up up". If the door routine is more complicated than someone coming in through the door then she gets a bit confused about it, but other than that she learned it really fast. The other cat hasn't tried venturing down the stairs yet. She makes it to the first step and then hurries up again.

Having just an interim "office" made me setup the Airport Express to let us print from the laptops. Maybe Apple aren't perfect, but they sure know how to make things easy.

Moving soon ...


We were at the new place a good part of the weekend sorting things out. Tons of work. Very exciting. (Except for all the work).

The Fog of War


1965 B-52 sw bombs falling

robert mcnamara Dylan Biles reminds me to remind you to remember to watch The Fog of War if you haven't already. Why do the government send people to war? It's not just a fascinating view into the past but also a bundle of lessons to the current administration. Of course it doesn't seem like they are watching. History repeats itself.

Buy from Amazon, official site, Errol Morris, Ebert's Review

And the Philip Glass soundtrack is great.

(via Brad DeLong)

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

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