Thursday, November 30, 2006

Contest: what's special about 62710628778699693?

What's special about the number 62710628778699693?

Be the first to figure it out, and I'll buy you a $25 gift card at Starbucks or Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Really!

This contest is open to everyone. That means the three people who read my blog on a regular basis, but J. Random Blog Reader who found my blog looking for "helium shortage", that means you, too! Send your answer to :

Contest expires the very last instant of 2006, anywhere on the planet!

UPDATE: Craig asks, "This isn't something like the VINs of the last two cars you own added together, is it?" HE WINS! No, just kidding--I'm not that lame. When you figure out why this number is special, you'll recognize it immediately.

UPDATE 2: The prize has been claimed, and the contest is over! Both Joe and Craig sent me the correct answer, and what the hell, they can both have a prize! I'll wait until the end of the month to reveal the answer, but feel free to speculate in the comments.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Tinseltown firefox theme

If you're like me, you have fond memories of Xsnow, but you're stuck on a non-X platform, for now. Thank goodness I can still bring the holiday magic to Firefox with the Tinseltown theme. HO HO HO!

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Saturnight plans fell thru

My plans for tonight fell through. I have two alternate choices: be productive, do a little cleaning, and maybe catch a late movie. Or, get drunk and catch up on season 3 of Battlestar Galactica.

I'll let you guess which way I'm chosing to go.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Blending golf balls

I don't need a blender, and it's still "Buy Nothing Day", but if I had $400 burining a hole in my pocket, I would be sorely tempted to get a blender that can turn golf balls into powder.

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Today is Buy Nothing Day

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Video Friday #17: Embrace, "All You Good Good People"

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Mike on Software: My favorite software activity

My favorite software activity is deleting code. Nothing makes me happier than removing complexity and cutting a function's length in half, all the while making it easier to understand.

Maybe that activity is more precisely stated as making code simpler--boiling things down to their bare essentials. It's Newton coming up with "F=ma", it's Einstein deriving "E=mc^2". It's the best feeling I can have as an engineer.

Someday, I hope to write a very concise but very clear regular expression that runs the universe.

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Exposing Glenn Beck's Extremism

I keep seeing ads for "A Glenn Beck Special, Exposed: The Extreme Agenda" all over the blogosphere. I think it's about Islamic extremism. Here's what I just submitted to's feedback form:
I was very disappointed to learn that this show was not actually an expose of Glenn Beck's extremist right-wing agenda. Too bad.
Now that's a show I would watch.

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Comments ARE busted

Commenting is definitely busted--it just happened to me! If you post a comment, and hit "post", and it brings you back to the comment box with your text still in the text entry field, you have to try again. (You'll also see your comment on the left if it worked.)

I would be mad, but then again, they did warn me when I opted-in to the Beta Blogger, so I guess I have only myself to blame.

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Best captcha ever

From Blogger, just now.

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Yet another reason to hate Blockbuster

Blockbuster signs deal to be exclusive renter for Weinsteins. This seems like it's bad for the consumer, bad for the cast and crew of the movies, and once Blockbuster's blood money runs out, bad for the Weinsteins. Bastards.

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Blogger beta eating comments?

Can anybody post a comment here?

I've heard a rumor that they're getting eaten. Anyone?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Video Friday #16: "Kill All Hippies", Primal Scream

The scariest authority figures don't have faces.

Hard to believe it's the same Primal Scream that made "Movin' On Up" and "Loaded".

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Post to your blog from "Docs & Spreadsheets"

Apparently, Google "Docs & Spreadsheets" now lets you post directly to your blog.

If you're reading this, I guess it works.

Update: It's pretty boss. It's a slick editor, better than Blogger's default. And the you can publish to several blog types: Blogger, Blogharbor, Blogware, Livejournal, Squarespace, and Wordpress. Nice.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Red State Babylon

I'm pretty angry right now. Okay, okay, so I was reading comments on a website that's bad for my health. (I won't name names, but it rhymes with flearepublic) I ran across another uninformed, poorly reasoned, and hateful "California sucks" screed. So, as an antidote, I post James Wolcott's "Red State Babylon". From that link:
If the blue states are sinkholes of moral decay, as right-wing pundits insist, how come red states lead the nation in violent crime, divorce, illegitimacy, and incarceration, among other evils?

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Warning--may make you cry. (Not me. Shut up! I have allergies.)

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The Den: (334) 756-3336

Free, if you call from work.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Video Friday #15: "All I Need", Air


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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Mike on software: Joint Strike Fighter C++ Coding Standards

Need a C++ coding standard? It's pretty heavy weight, but it's fascinating nonetheless: Lockheed Martin's C++ Coding Standards for the Joint Strike Fighter. I recommend you come up with something much shorter.

It's interesting because I was under the impression that aviation software operated under a QA standard of 100% coverage, measured at the assembly instruction level: every machine instruction must be executed. That's got to be tough to hit, given the instruction stream most C++ compilers generate.

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

The 1000 greatest films

With the help of, I'm working my way through the 250 top films, as selected by users. I'm making good progress--so far, it's 162 down, with 88 to go.

But I just discovered this list of the 1000 greatest films. I guess I won't be running out any time soon.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Video Friday #14: "Black Steel", Tricky

Actually, the original is "Black Steel In The Hour of Chaos" by Public Enemy.

But I like this one better. Sorry, my hardcore friends.

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