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+ paul e. [LJ]
+ Rain Graves
+ gnat [use Perl;]

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My other sites:
- Silicon Valley Scale Modelers
- Book page for Programming Web Services With Perl

Other journals I read:
= DJ Adams
= rebecca blood
= Tim Bray
= Margaret Cho
= Warren Ellis
= Neil Gaiman
= Rafael Garcia-Suarez
= John Gorenfeld
= Lawrence Lessig
= Michael McCracken
= Jeff Vogel
= Norm Walsh
= Wil Wheaton

My journal at use.perl.org:
· Restless
· RPC-XML-0.57.tar.gz uploaded to PAUSE
· RPC-XML-0.56.tar.gz uploaded to PAUSE
· RPC-XML-0.55.tar.gz uploaded to PAUSE
· Forgive Me, Bretheren Monks
· Extry Extry: Winer Leaves the RSS Advisory Board
· RPC::XML 0.54 Uploaded
· The Books of Perl
· Good Intentions Don't Equal Good Results
· Errata Tracking Page for PWSWP
· Image::Size 2.992 Uploaded
· Props to Portland PM
· Lightning Talks
· OSCON, Tuesday
· OSCON Plans Now Set

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We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others. — Will Rogers

Job Loss is Apparently Good For the Economy 2004.03.31.01:13

Treasury Secretary John Snow Treasury Secretary John Snow illustrates with gestures just how much he cares for the plight of the non-CEO workforce in America:

Asked in a newspaper interview whether he thought outsourcing of jobs to other countries made the U.S. economy strong, Snow replied, "It's one aspect of trade and there can't be any doubt about the fact that trade makes ... America strong."

Outsourcing only benefits the highest levels of management at companies, by letting them get work done for a few dollars per hour as opposed to paying an actual living wage (or a few dollars per day, as is still the case in a lot of offshore manufacturing factories). In the case of tech outsourcing, it's certainly true that the overseas workers are compensated handsomely with regards to the local cost of living. But manufacturing is still utilizing a lot of unfair labor practice in places like Central America and Indonesia. Almost certainly in China, too, but our "fact-finders" seem to be content to see a few token factories and praise China's progress on work conditions. Either way, no one in the U.S. could work for the same wages (so as to reasonably compete for their job to return to the U.S.) and actually survive.

Until someone decides to push a great big economic RESET button and make it possible for U.S. workers to support families on $2 an hour, there is no way to compete with outsourcing. Of course, wherever the rank-and-file workers are located, the company CEOs are still reaping U.S.-economy-sized bonuses for producing products cheaply.

# [/politics]

I Am Shocked and Dismayed at the Sexism at Hooters 2004.03.26.22:21

Waitress Applicants Videotaped Naked

At the interview they were told to change into the uniform of bright orange shorts and a white tank-top bearing the Hooters logo and were surreptitiously videotaped, he said.

This pisses me off, and the guy (if indeed guilty) should be punished as any sex-offender would be. But don't try to convince me that the whole "Hooters" atmosphere doesn't foster this sort of mind-set. Anyone who's seen their ads or bus-side billboards knows better.

# [/misc]

Good Thing Microsoft Has Learned Their Lesson 2004.03.26.09:47
# [/tech]

I, For One, Welcome Our New Giant Robot Rescuers 2004.03.25.23:30
# [/tech]

Buggered Motherboard 2004.03.24.07:59

My #1, ass-kicking desktop box has been locking up at random intervals over the past few months. Now, it won't recognize anything on the first IDE controller.

Looks like I need a new MB. Crap.

# [/tech]

Sometimes Bill Only Needs to Sit and Watch 2004.03.23.02:40

Last night, I caught a re-airing of Friday's Real Time With Bill Maher. I've been watching the show a lot more lately, since I wasn't too impressed with it at first. Maybe that first episode that I saw was just a bad one for making a first impression. The show itself has started to find its own pace and flavor. Unfortunately for me, this week's show is the last new one for a while– they'll be on hiatus until June or July (I forget which he said, I think it was July).

Most of the time, the panel is reasonably-balanced, though I have seen some panels that didn't really represent the conservative side on a given issue. Then there were panels like this week's, where the conservative side is in attendance, but the representative is just... broken.

Two of the panelists this week were David Frum (ostensibly representing the conservative/Republican view) and Gore Vidal. Mr. Vidal was clearly the most liberal of the three, even more so than the middle-person, Eddie Izzard. And to be frank, Mr. Frum was seriously out of his league when trying to face off against Vidal. He made a remark comparing the current occupation of Iraq with the liberation of Paris and the rest of Europe in World War II. Vidal countered by pointing out that he (Vidal) had been in combat in WWII Europe, and that he didn't feel there was anything common between the two. A few statements later, Frum commented on the fact that Vidal was criticizing American foreign policy while living in Italy. Vidal reminded him that the Hollywood Hills were, last he checked, still in California. (Frum tried to brush this off, saying that he wasn't in the business of tracking Vidal's address, but if you're going to use someone's living-abroad status as an attack, the onus is on you to make sure you're correct.) It really only got worse for Frum the longer it went on. By the end of that segment, he was barely saying anything at all.

# [/politics]

Just Say No. No, Really. 2004.03.17.03:25

(This is another one that could just as easily go into "religion" sub-category.)

A co-worker pointed me towards a friend's web site: screwabstinence.org. While it's no godhatesshrimp.com, the message is just as important: the current administration is gutting programs left and right, but doesn't seem to have any problems sending money to "fath-based initiative" groups to promote abstinence-only education.

Among the links of various usefulness on the site is this link to an article from Salon.com, posted last month:

In a 2002 story, Newsweek quoted a top Bush adviser who dismissed the data showing that the only effective sex education programs are those that teach both abstinence and contraception.

"Values trumps data," the adviser said.

(Note that Salon.com requires a paid subscription, or that you accede to viewing an ad/commercial to get a one-day "pass".)

I suppose that "Values trumps data" could also explain the easing of environmental restrictions, the changes in energy policy, and so many more.

# [/politics]

A Merit Badge in What? 2004.03.16.00:04
# [/twisted]

Happy Pi Day 2004.03.14.09:59

Today is National Π Day

This post made on 3/14, 1:59

# [/funny]

Why I Left Oklahoma, #2 2004.03.10.01:24

Domestic Violence TV Show Leads to Shooting

I initially looked at this as funny. In a way, I still do. I mean, in the same sense you chuckle at the absurdity of a dog shooting its owner. Not that you are laughing at the loss of human life, but rather that when whatever forces govern the universe see fit to pull these kinds of strings (presumably for their amusement) you want to not think that it could happen to you.

My favorite passage is probably:

Cecil then struck his wife, fetched a handgun and fired a shot into the bed's headboard near Teri to show that he did not like his wife calling him a violent partner, police said, citing a statement the wife gave to investigators.

Striking your spouse, striking anyone, is inexcusable. But doing it in retaliation for being called abusive is, well, just moronic. So, while this isn't necessarily funny, and while domestic violence is by no means limited to Oklahoma, this goes down as yet another reason I'm glad I managed to escape.

# [/twisted]

Ordnance QF 2 pr on Carriage 2 pr - Part 2 2004.03.07.10:16

Since posting the first part of this project, two good things have happened: firstly, a friend with a much better camera than I had was willing to take some snaps for me, all of which came out considerably clearer than my Ricoh 4200 was capable of. Secondly, I got a new camera. So future projects will feature better pictures, as well.

[image] In the first part, I showed two views of the carriage at an interim stage. This photo shows the completed carriage in travelling order. One of the things that has always attracted me to this subject is the odd image the front legs make when they're folded upwards for transit. It was here that I first started having some problems with the instructions, in the form of omissions.

Note the white metal arms that hold the folded sections of the legs in place. These hook on to small hooks formed from brass wire, attached to the folded sections. The instructions tell you to make these hooks and where to place them (the wire is provided in the kit). However, there is no mention of the hooks at all if you are building the gun in firing position. If you don't at least look over the instructions specific to travel position, you might not know to put the hooks there. To make matters worse, the ends of the metal arms that hook onto the brass don't actually have hooks; they're solid. I tried drilling the ends out to be more hook-like, but they became too mangled to be usable. I instead snipped them off and replaced them with hooks made from small-gauge lead wire.

[image] This picture shows the gun assembly itself, on the platform but minus the chair and the adjusting wheels. There were no surprises here, thankfully. The barrel is nice and straight, and wasn't too hard to drill out. When I build another, I will probably replace it with an aftermarket part (lathe-turned aluminum) simply because the drilling will be more precise and it will be less vulnerable to heat. Getting the breech part against the back-end of the gun was a little work, as cleaning the casting block off of the breech left it a little uneven. The hardest part to fit was the white metal piece that goes along the side of the gun itself, up to the breech. It was hard to tell what angle it should be at, so it was hard to get lined up. The rest of the parts shown were no trouble at all.

[image] The next part to feature for now was also the single hardest to get right, with the possible exception of aligning the folded front carriage legs. This is the sight assembly. The picture is small because it is the only one we were able to get of the assembly that has the open sight (the brass wire part) in focus. The assembly itself is fairly straightforward. The two problems that took the better part of an evening, are the open sight and the alignment from the mounting brace. And the fact that the mounting brace is never actually mentioned or referred to in the instructions.

The brace is part number 22. It's shown in the parts layout photo, but is never called out anywhere else. However, when you're assembling the gun sub-assembly, it is pretty clear where it goes. And the half-circle opening at the bottom is perfectly-spaced to fit across the side braces on either side of the gun itself. However, at the other end of part 22, the nub onto which the sights are mounted, the angle is completely wrong. The sight assembly should be perfectly horizontal with regards to the gun itself. But the nub is at an angle of about -40°, which would cause the whole sight system to be at that angle. To solve this, I used a simple sanding stick to level off the top of the nub so that the sights were level. The reason this was such a problem was that it was so difficult to test-fit this, to be certain that the angle was correct. I didn't want to permanently attach part 22 to the gun, since it would make painting more difficult.

[image] The last element for now is the open sight itself. This was especially tricky to do, since all they tell you to do is to make a rectangle of wire 5mm by 3mm. This will not fit on the sights. Do not do it this way. The open sight has to fit to part number 30. There is a very small nub where the two join, about 1mm wide. As you may guess, this 1mm is actually part of the rectangle. I drew up this pattern (using the GIMP) based on what I did. Rather than making the rectangle, I made what you might call a highly-stylized "C". It is 5mm on two sides, 3mm across the top, and has two 1mm stems pointing inwards on the bottom. The stems sit snugly on either side of the nub, and the sight assembly is complete.

Since taking the pix and doing the work detailed above, I have finished the basic construction of the detail parts (ammo shelf, cleaning up the ammo boxes, cleaning up the gunshield, etc.). I've painted all of them their basic British Green color, and am about to do the rubber effect on the tires. I'll post more pictures and details when I've gotten a little further.

# [/hobby/modeling/Two-Pounder]

OK, I Was Kind Of Unfair 2004.03.05.21:53

This isn't to say that my birthday magically became better after I wrote the last entry. However, I have to be fair: both my mom and dad made contact the next day. I got a card from my mom, and a call from dad. And of course, the best part of it all was that I decided on my own to not go out and be sociable because I was afraid someone else would get all the attention, and I'd end up being ignored. Guess what? He didn't go either, but for much, much better reasons than mine. So, not only was I being shallow and immature, I was just plain wrong on top of it all. Go me!

I guess the worst part is that I was so fixated on the negative that I completely overlooked the good things that happened. Several of my co-workers did come by my desk and wish me well. My company gave me a $20 gift certificate for Amazon.com. Several people around here besides co-workers sent me good wishes. And one very dear, long-time friend not only was the first person on that day to wish me a happy b-day, she even sent me a (slightly embarassing) FAX here at work that provided a great amount of amusement for my co-workers. And no birthday can be all bad when you've helped others to laugh.

Thank you, Pasha. I'm sorry that my sour mood Wednesday let me forget you like that.

# [/thoughts]

Go Randy, It's Your Birthday 2004.03.03.19:45

As far as birthdays go, this one was no gem. Maybe I expected too much of others, but very few people seemed to remember. My best friend didn't even drop an e-mail, and neither of my parents called. I know that Orkut would remind some people (because a few people did send me well-wishes), and I was hoping that a few of the people on LJ might have had some flag or something.

The worst part wasn't about anyone else, though. I was the worst part. I could think of nothing better to do than come home and watch TV. And eat. I ate an entire large pizza for dinner. There was something else I could have done this evening, but it would have meant being in a larger group of people, some of whom I've come to feel don't really like having me around. So I chose to stay home and hypothesize, rather than go out and risk being wrong. Or right.

# [/thoughts]

Feeling Perforated 2004.03.03.01:19

To paraphrase a recent strip from my Get Fuzzy desktop calendar:

There's a fine line between genius and insanity, and mine is getting more and more perforated.

I'm on my sixth or seventh can of caffienated beverage already, after less than six hours in my chair. Not counting the 30 minutes or so that I fled the office after finding out that one of the machines I need, a machine that had been sitting untouched over a week because no one told me it was in place and hooked up to our net, I'm not to use after all. They'll have a different one lined up for me, "probably within a day or two".

This project is already launching a full-frontal assault on my sensibilities. It's proven to me beyond a doubt that I will in fact respond to "Jump!" with "How high?", despite any illusions of self-preservation or self-consideration. The worst part of it all, is this: by actually getting what they want into their hands by the deadline, I'm just guaranteeing that they'll do this to me again. After all, it's not as though this is the first time.

# [/thoughts]

Who Am I:
Randy J. Ray
Software Engineer


Buy my book!

Programming Web Services with Perl

I've also contributed three chapters to:

Computer Science & Perl Programming

Category quick-links:


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Reading and Re-reading
· The Annotated Thursday: G.K. Chesterton's The Man Who Would Be Thursday, G.K. Chesterton, Martin Gardner
· The Feeling Good Handbook, David D. Burns
· Organizing From the Inside Out, Julie Morgenstern
· XML Schema, Eric Van Der Vlist
· BEEP: The Definitive Guide, Marshall T. Rose

High in the queue
· Silk, Caitlin R. Kiernan
· Coldheart Canyon, Clive Barker
· Idoru, William Gibson
· Shared Source CLI Essentials, David Stutz, Ted Neward, Geoff Shilling

Recently finished
· Planetary Vol. 3: Leaving the 20th Century, Warren Ellis, et al

Recommended favorites
· The Cowboy Wally Show, Kyle Baker
· Lost Souls, Poppy Z. Brite
· The Alienist, Caleb Carr
· Quarantine, Greg Egan
· The Authority: Relentless, Warren Ellis et al.
· Planetary: All Over the World and Other..., Warren Ellis et al.
· American Gods, Neil Gaiman
· Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
· Neuromancer, William Gibson
· A Philosophical Investigation, Philip Kerr
· Say You Want a Revolution (The Invisibles, Book 1), Grant Morrison et al
· You Are Worthless: Depressing Nuggets of..., Oswald T. Pratt and Scott Dickers
· Cryptonomicon, Neil Stephenson
· Rising Stars : Born In Fire (Vol. 1), J. Michael Straczynski

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