Previous month:
August 2004
Next month:
October 2004

September 2004

I learned to blow glass at MIT

First off, who knew MIT has a Glass Lab, and secondly that said Glass Lab has a Great Glass Pumpkin Patch Sale every year. Quoth the website:

The Great Glass Pumpkin Patch @ MIT is an annual installation of 1,000 handblown glass pumpkins, created by artists from the MIT Glass Lab and The Bay Area Glass Institute. Proceeds from this event benefit The MIT Glass Lab, where the MIT community can learn and practice the art of glassblowing.

Looks like the classes are popular, there is a lottery for getting in. I know if I was at MIT, I would want in on that class.

Found via Jarrett House North.

Hello People I work with

There has been a noticeable uptick in the number of people whom I work with who also read this here little old blog. This isn't really a problem, but I can only imagine that more and more people I know will become aware of my little corner of cyberspace (does anyone use that word anymore?).

Blankbaby has been lucky enough to garner a regular audience of readers, and to get a few high level links which is always cool, but I didn't start this blog to get noticed.

Noticed I have been, or so it seems, so I think it is about time I posted the dreaded, 'The opinions on this blog are mine and mine alone,' so here it goes:

The thoughts and opinions on this blog are mine, and mine alone. They do not reflect those of my employers, my friends, nor my family. The comments posted on this blog are the sole opinions of the posters and not those of Blankbaby, Blankbaby's employer, etc.

I think that pretty much covers it.

Back to the ramblings!

Best Ads on TV by... HP?!

Picture_book_tvAre the latest crop of HP ads very cool, or is it just me? I like their style, I like the music behind them, and I like the idea of the frames turning into pictures, and those are just the commercials for HP digital photography.

It might be blasphemy, but I even prefer the Apple iPod from HP commercials to Apple's iPod commercials.

Have I fallen into some alternate universe where, dare I say it, HP is cool?

iStumbler, the newest stumbling software


iStumbler is a free, open source tool for finding wireless networks and devices with your AirPort or Bluetooth equipped Macintosh. iStumbler combines a compact user interface with a real time display of signal strength and complete debugging information.

I already have MacStumbler, but really can one have too many applications with the word 'stumbler' in it?

Dude, it's TREKKERS

TrekkersI am not a hard core Trekker myself (I have never dressed up like a Vulcan, I don't speak Klingon, and I have never been to a convention) but I do consider myself a big fan of all things Star Trek and I do own an edition of Hamlet written in the original, Klingon.

But Trekkies? Come on, everyone knows the proper term is Trekkers.

Freedom From conEd?

Wired News: Freedom Tower Will Be Green Giant

The Freedom Tower will have a major impact on the New York skyline while minimizing its impact on the environment. Designers say the world's tallest building will include a wind farm, solar panels and advanced, energy-efficient technology, and will become an icon of environmentally friendly architecture.

For those of you not in the know, conEd (Consolidated Edison) provides energy to New York City and the surrounding area.

What would you do for Foo?

Scobie went to foo camp, and he learned this interesting tidbit:

I met Chris Uhlik of Google. He's the program manager of Gmail and the Google Toolbar and a few other things. He gave a talk at 11 p.m. to well after midnight. I asked him why they only give out a few Gmail accounts at a time. Remember, I thought it was sheer marketing genius. Turns out it wasn't. Turns out they don't have enough server capacity to deal with everyone who wants an account. So, when they buy a new server and get it installed they hand out another round of invites. Heh, their server salesperson must cheer everytime he or she sees more invites being advertised on weblogs.

Now, I am not one of the 'top 300 geeks on the planet,' not even close, but if Tim O'Reilly saw fit to invite me to the next foo camp I would be more than happy to perform some sort of menial labor to justify my presence there. Think about it, Tim, you know where to find me.

Version 8 still doesn't suck

John Gruber of Daring Fireball, and a fellow Philadelphian (or so it seems) reviews BBEdit 8 by Bare Bones Software.

John likes it, and who wouldn't like an application with the slogan, 'It doesn't suck'?

Now, the app may not suck, but many people think that the icon sucks a great deal, and I must add my voice to the multitude, and we all know how much my word carries in the tech industry.

Well, I am off to pop a tape in the old Betamax.

Computer Professionals of Center City!

If you are a computer professional and live in Center City, like I do (ok, I may not be all that professional) you might want to check out Computer Professionals of Center City.

There will be an informal meeting on Sept. 21st, here are the details:

Who: All computer professionals who live and work in the Center City Philadelphia Area

What: Informal Get-together

When: Tuesday, September 21, 2004 from 7:00-9:00 pm

Where: The Irish Pub, 2007 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA

Why: To provide an opportunity for Center City Philadelphia computer professionals to rub elbows

Price: Free, cash bar.

If you RSVP in advance, we will have a preprinted nametag for you.

Web Site:


If you are a Network Administrator, Computer Programmer (any language), Database Designer, Web Site Developer, Computer Hardware Professional, Software Support Specialist, Project Manager -- an IT type of any stripe -- then CPCC is for you! Hope to see you there!

I am not sure if I am going to go, but it is a good opportunity to get out there and meet some more people, so I probably should, and will, go.

If you see me there say hello! And be sure to shower praise onto me, I have a very fragile ego.


PaparazziPaparazzi! is a very cool little application, Mac OS X only, that allows you to create .png's of websites by simply entering the URL and the desired width and Min. Height.

This app is based off of webkit2png, which is a command line tool to do the same thing.

Curious to see some output? I bet you are, so I captured this very website. The coolest thing about this application is that it grabs the entire page, so if you are in a position when you need to grab the entire contents of a webpage in a single image this is the solution for you (if you're using a Mac running Mac OS X).


If you would like to see the whole image click here.

I am thinking of downloading webkit2png and creating an AppleScript that emulates many of the functions of Paparazzi, but would be easy to get to while using Safari.

In Which I Agonize Over Another Purchase

Bagvsbag_1I'm in the market for a new bag for all my crap, and I want a stylish messenger bag so I can gain instant street cred.

The one on the left is the Commute from Timbuk2 and it can be mine for a mere $100.

The coy little bag on the right is Brenthaven's new messenger bag which can be had for $84 - 89.

On the one hand Brenthaven is know for tough bags, but Timbuk2 offers, amongst other custom details, an iPod Case.

I am leaning towards the Commute, but I wonder if anyone out there has any pointers for me.

The Legend of the Fat Lady and the Katana

I freely admit that I am a blog snob (and of course I am a giant geek, otherwise how could I even consider being a blog snob) and so I avoid Livejournal like the plague.

With that being said, sometimes there are some gems in the manure, and misia is a gem (and that is a compliment). This post is classic:

And here I must pause to explain that I am a very not small, very not slender, human being. An average-sized bath towel, for that was what I grabbed, is inadequate to the task of providing adequate coverage of the entirety of the relevant mid-thigh-to-armpit, front-and-back-and-sides, DMZ. A fair quantity of my only semi-showered self was thus flapping in the breeze when I arrived in the middle of the living room to find a hysterical Akita standing, still barking his damn fool head off....

in front of wide-open front window that looks out directly onto the sidewalk.

And on that sidewalk was a full complement of roofers, five of them to be precise, readying tools and supplies so that they could go do work on the neighbors' roof. They were busily tying "caution" tape from the tree in front of my house to the wrought-iron rail along my front steps, and stranding it around the area in which they were arraying their tools.

A little Oracle History for you geeks out there

25 Years of technology innovation:

In the late 1970s, following Oracle Corporation's initial release of the world's first commercially available relational database management system (RDBMS), hundreds of vendors appeared with products related to relational databases. Many promoted highly specialized applications for reporting, working with unique data, or processing transactions. New companies such as Informix, Ingres, and Sybase sprang up, and established giants such as IBM entered the relational database market.

The article has some interesting tidbits about Oracle as a company, and that shy and retiring fellow Larry Ellison.

See Oprah. See Oprah give you a car.

Oprah gives entire audience new cars.

Winfrey said the audience members were chosen because their friends or family had written about their need for a new car. One woman’s young son said she drove a car that “looks like she got into a gunfight”; another couple had almost 400,000 miles on their two vehicles.

Making sure the audience was kept in suspense, Winfrey opened the show by calling 11 people onto the stage. She gave each of them a car — a Pontiac G6.

She then had gift boxes distributed to the rest of the audience and said one of the boxes contained keys to a 12th car. But when everyone opened the boxes, each had a set of keys.

“Everybody gets a car! Everybody gets a car! Everybody gets a car!” Winfrey yelled as she jumped up and down on the stage.

Oprah, is there anything she can't do? Other than pee standing up that is.

I takea Ikea to you

apartment therapy posts about a guy who will go to Ikea for you

I just had to write and tell you about our exciting discovery. After two abortive trips to Ikea (we all know the well known disease called 'Ikea-fatigue' symptoms of which are loss of hair, fuzzy vision and poor tempers, leading to eventual exhaustion) and general tearing our hair out about buying a sofa bed, Stephen and I discovered: Chester Asher.

Chester will go to Ikea for you, buy what you want (you call him to find out when his next trip will be, and then email him the link to the online catalogue of what you want) and then deliver to your door for $50 (Ikea charges $99). He was extremely efficient and nice - in fact he turned up at Elizabeth only to find that what we wanted was out of stock, so drove over to Paramus. wow.