Happy New Years…

My vacation has been very enjoyable so far; after the obligatory family time, I’ve enjoyed my traveling quite a lot. New Years Eve in Singapore is interesting – the noise level since midnight has been constant and very high (it’s 12:45AM here on 1/1; I’m 16 hours ahead of California time right now here) and I suspect if I wasn’t still recovering from jet lag it would keep me up. As it stands, it’s sort of a non-issue since I am dead tired and will be back up in about 3 hours to fly to Thailand anyway.

I have taken some photos, including this one Me, looking silly. of me in front of a statue of some legendary Chinese warrior (which is in turn in front of the Singapore Hilton.) Not as many as I’d have liked – my battery ran out halfway through the Singapore Zoo. Also unfortunately the little camera I’m traveling with doesn’t zoom in nearly as far as I’d have liked for some of the zoo shots – ah well! it’s better, for these parts, than the DSLR just on size and not-getting-mugged counts (OK, the latter is not an issue here in Singapore, but it IS is the less nice bits of other places.)

Overall, I’m quite impressed with Singapore, although with only two full days on the ground(*) it’s hard to really get a sense of the place, a problem I still have with Hong Kong as well. I’ll enjoy it if I ever make it back, and I do hope to.

(* and fighting jetlag, sore feet, and a sore back/shoulders from overhard bed – the latter being nearly universal in hotels – at least from my perspective, although it seems worse in Asia.)

Tech stuff.

Two quick notes:
1) WordPress 2.0 is out. I plan to upgrade when I get back to the states; I’m not convinced it’s really going to be an improvement, but I need to keep up to date with the security patches, so there’s not much choice. Hopefully my old style/theme will still work. If not, expect a very bland defauly style until I have more time…

2) ReiserFS sucks for news spools, even with “notail” on, at least on RAID1. I’d wondered if that was it, and it appears to be the case. My leafnode spool runs to about 1.5 million articles, and 9GB; when I put in the mirrored drives, I put it on it’s own file system and switched it from ext3 to ReiserFS. I noticed then that it took about 6 hours every day to run texpire, which seemed long – but I hadn’t been checking since it had been growing. Well, “notail” sped it up a bit but it still took several hours…. so I got fed up, and with the wireless here, migrated it back to ext3. On ext3? (with dir_index on, data=”ordered”, and commit=60) it took a whopping 12 minuts… or a 40:1 improvement.

This is only a test…

Ok, this is just a test to see how well posting works from my little PDA thingee. So far I am not terribly impressed with how this site looks on the mobile screen but logging I and bringing up the post form works OK and the miniature keyboard is not half bad – if a little slow.

Anyone know about optimizing these thing for both desktop and PDA user? Does anyone out there with a Treo or Blackberry want to comment on the way the site appears on your device?

Update looking on the PC – one bad typo “botb” and one extra line break. Not too bad. Can we say “blogging through boring meetings?” anybody?

“P.S. I am not a dictator!”

From today’s Presidential Press Conference:

Q Thank you, Mr. President. I wonder if you can tell us today, sir, what, if any, limits you believe there are or should be on the powers of a President during a war, at wartime? And if the global war on terror is going to last for decades, as has been forecast, does that mean that we’re going to see, therefore, a more or less permanent expansion of the unchecked power of the executive in American society?

THE PRESIDENT: First of all, I disagree with your assertion of “unchecked power.”

Q Well —

THE PRESIDENT: Hold on a second, please. There is the check of people being sworn to uphold the law, for starters. There is oversight. We’re talking to Congress all the time, and on this program, to suggest there’s unchecked power is not listening to what I’m telling you. I’m telling you, we have briefed the United States Congress on this program a dozen times.

This is an awesome responsibility to make decisions on behalf of the American people, and I understand that, Peter. And we’ll continue to work with the Congress, as well as people within our own administration, to constantly monitor programs such as the one I described to you, to make sure that we’re protecting the civil liberties of the United States. To say “unchecked power” basically is ascribing some kind of dictatorial position to the President, which I strongly reject.

Q What limits do you —

THE PRESIDENT: I just described limits on this particular program, Peter. And that’s what’s important for the American people to understand. I am doing what you expect me to do, and at the same time, safeguarding the civil liberties of the country.

(resisting the urge to correct “The President” to “El Shrubbito”)

John on AMERICAblog summarizes it nicely:

Q: Are there any limits on the power of a president during war time. And if the war on terror will last for decades does that mean we’re going to see a permanent expansion of the unchecked power of the executive during wartime.

A: I disagree with the phrase unchecked power. blah blah blah. I am not a dictator. [paraphrase]

[THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES JUST HAD TO DENY BEING A DICTATOR]

This reminds me of what my college buddy Mearls used to say “PS I am not a crackpot!

My new toy…

I bought a new PocketPC/Phone device this weekend, and switched to Sprint:
PPC 6700 picture
PPC 6700 from Sprint

All-you-can-eat mobile IP access (email and web, mainly) is a very, very cool thing.

I still need a memory card for it (it’s got about 40mb of free storage on it’s own… *sigh* I remember when that would have seemed like a lot), and if I were *really* hardcore, I’d be posting this from it rather than my laptop. But hey, I’m getting there.

What goes around comes around…

…and I don’t mean karma.

I was reminded of a wonderful coinage I was witness to on RASFF:

“The Napoleon-Clarke Law: Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice”

Trying to find the exact phrasing, discovered it cited on someone’s blog.

This in turn led me to another USENET post, one I missed, pointing out that the original phrase was older.

The point of this? Not much, other than being continually reminded of it by the Bush administration… which clearly manages a sufficiently advanced level of incompetence.

Matthew David Edel: 10/5/1941 – 12/5/1990

15 years ago today, my father passed away. It was half my life ago, within about a month of exactly. I don’t really really think about it most of the time, but for some reason I was reminded of it last night… I actually wrote this post then, and took it down because it didn’t feel right leaving it up. And now it’s back up.

I miss him, and I wonder what he’d think of my life today. I hope that my brothers and mom are hanging in there, and are spared being reminded of the milestone.

No! Not the … squirrels?

Russian squirrel pack ‘kills dog’

Squirrels have bitten to death a stray dog which was barking at them in a Russian park, local media report.
BBC News, Last Updated: Thursday, 1 December 2005, 18:14 GMT

Passers-by were too late to stop the attack by the black squirrels in a village in the far east, which reportedly lasted about a minute.

They are said to have scampered off at the sight of humans, some carrying pieces of flesh.

A pine cone shortage may have led the squirrels to seek other food sources, although scientists are sceptical.

Wacky Seniors file: police mistakenly impound driver with car

Police mistakenly impound driver with car

TORONTO (Reuters) – An 85-year-old Canadian man spent hours inside his impounded car in freezing temperatures after his vehicle was ticketed for illegal parking and then towed to a police compound, police said on Thursday.
[...]
“They accessed the vehicle and sure enough there was an elderly man inside. He was disoriented but he was not unconscious.”
[...]
Lammi said police were unsure what stopped the man from driving his car away.

Hey, a minor victory for the good guys…

From: Walgreen’s puts 4 Illinois pharmacists on leave for refusing to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception at AmericaBLOG

I go to the pharmacy for medicine, not spiritual advice. If you’re opposed to the death penalty, don’t apply for a job as an excecutioner. If you’re allergic to animals, don’t become a vet.

Refers back to this boston.com article if you prefer to look directly.