Archive for April, 2007

My Senator(1): Barbara Boxer

23:54 30 Apr 2007. Updated: 09:32 01 May 2007

As with Nancy Pelosi, I didn’t know too much about Barbara Boxer. But I had vague memories of having read coverage of her that I considered favorable. Her official biography page was appealing, as it put the environment in first place.

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Morning Time-Wasting

16:33 29 Apr 2007. Updated: 14:16 01 May 2007

I’ve been doing well in eliminating “time-wasting” activities. The main one that remains is still web surfing. I’ve managed to get rid of a lot of that at work, which is good, but still do it at other times. Especially in the morning.

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Muir Woods HDR Photos

20:46 28 Apr 2007

When Jamie was here, we went up to Muir Woods, and I took a bunch of photos, hoping to improve on the last set. I also wanted to experiment with HDR tone mapping.

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Frans Lanting

23:59 27 Apr 2007. Updated: 03:10 28 Apr 2007

I went to see a Long Now Foundation essay this evening with Lev, and it was really good. The talk was given by Frans Lanting, a photographer, and was called “Life’s Journey Through Time”.

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Final Canvas Draft

23:19 26 Apr 2007. Updated: 21:36 26 Jun 2013

Last night was the last sfmagic draft at Canvas, which closes on Saturday. We had 23 people, three draft groups, and I took some photos of the occasion.

The sfmagic group has drafted there for years. I’ve gone there almost every Wednesday night since late 2003, so over three years, and the group apparently met there for months (possibly a year) before I joined. But it’s closing, so we have to find a new spot (tentatively, Milano’s Pizzeria about a block up on 9th Avenue).

We had two pods of eight and one of seven. This is a shot of (most of) the A and B pods:

Pods A and B
The guy on the right in the black hoodie is Ben Rubin, 1998 World Championships Finalist, who won pod B. In the far corner in the red jacket is Brett Allen, occasional PT player, who won Pod A.

Pod C was on the other side:

Pod C
The guy farthest on the left, who appears to be sitting on a stool or standing, is Nick Lynn who won the pod. I don’t know any links for him, unless he’s the Nick Lynn who won Ohio Regionals in 2003.

I played in Pod A, and left to right these are Andy and Standish, my third and first round opponents respectively:

Andy and Dish
I’m pretty sure that’s Will’s hand behind Andy.

Round 3 (the empty seat with the pen and results sheets is mine, as I’ve already lost at this point):

Pod B Round 3
Davey and Standish battling it out:

Davey and Standish
Davey would go on to win this match 1–0–1, securing a 2–1 record and 4th place in the process.

Seth and James, who like me ended up with 1–2 records for the evening, play a post–draft game of Constructed—likely the last game of MTG to be played at Canvas:

Seth and James play the final Canvas game
It’s all over, as Dralnu and Phyrexian Totem swing in to give James the last victory:

James Wins Final Game

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Shell Script for Remote Database Subversion Checkin

17:09 25 Apr 2007. Updated: 09:36 26 Apr 2007

The MySQL backup script I posted the other day backs up the databases on the local machine. I have a case where the local machine doesn’t have the subversion client, and so I need to pull them onto a machine that does, and check them in.

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Windows Future

23:50 24 Apr 2007. Updated: 00:52 25 Apr 2007

It’s not new, but I’ve been reading over Peter Gutmann’s A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection. This mightsound dry and of interest only to geeks, but it’s pretty important for the future of computing in general. In certain respects is another story about Microsoft trying to take over the world.

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Leaving Nimblefish

23:45 23 Apr 2007. Updated: 18:54 24 Apr 2007

Today I told Nimblefish I was leaving. My last day is 4 May, Friday after next.

It’s rather weird to be leaving. I’ve been there for almost five years.

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Future Sight: First Impressions

23:52 22 Apr 2007. Updated: 21:46 26 Jun 2013

The Prerelease tournaments for the next MTG set, Future Sight, were this weekend.

Future Sight is the third set in the Time Spiral block. Thematically, as the first two sets dealt with the past and with alternative presents, this set deals with cards from the (potential) future. Each of the three sets has “timeshifted” cards that look different from other cards—Time Spiral uses cards with the old card face, Planar Chaos with a kind of alternative currnet card face, and Future Sight with quite bizarre-looking “future” card face/layout. The casting cost for these cards is on the left, their card frame is quite different, and they use a lot more translucency in their design. They stand out from other cards more than the timeshifted cards from the first two sets. They’re also a lot hard for players to scan, given that the information on them is in quite different places.

It’s an interesting aesthetic experiment, both when considered for individual cards and for cards taken together. MTG shifted to the “new” card face around Mirrodin block, almost four years ago, and one of the biggest complaints was (and remains) how bad decks look when the old and new card faces are both present. The last three sets take this to extremes, and now there are four different card face styles mixed together in single block.

It’s interesting, but I really hope that that’s it, and that they’re going to stop screwing around with the card face and be consistent for the next decade at least.

As for the cards themselves, not that much stood out to me so far in Future Sight. There are lots of cards with bizarre abilities, such as the rather cool Seht’s Tiger, which gives players protection from a color, and a kind of “non-cycle cycle” of lands that are all different for the five allied color pairs. Perhaps Future Sight is meant to feel fractured and chaotic, but that feeling doesn’t make for a satisfying environment, especially in comparison to the Time Spiral set, which has a lot of craziness and a lot of new ideas in it too, but manages a certain coherence that the latter two sets, and especially Future Sight, lack.

The Prerelease was fun, but like the set itself a little bit of a letdown compared to the last two. And now the long wait for the next major set begins (major sets are released in the fall of each year)…

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Shell Script for MySQL Backup

22:17 21 Apr 2007

I’ve finally gotten around to writing a shell script to back up my databases. It’s not particularly complicated, but it works, backing up, timestamping, and gzipping each database.

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Will Gonzales Resign?

23:50 20 Apr 2007. Updated: 15:46 26 Apr 2007

If he had any shame, he would. He’s clearly engaged in shameful behavior as Attorney General, and just as clearly the Senate (even the Republicans) have no faith in his ability at all. (You know it’s bad when a prominent Republican says that questioning Gonzales looked like “clubbing a baby seal”. But I don’t think Gonzales will leave on his own. His conception of doing a good job as Attorney General is to “protect” the President.

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Book-Buying Episode

22:03 19 Apr 2007. Updated: 15:45 26 Apr 2007

I tend to buy too many books when I go to bookstores. Today Jamie wanted to check out what the Modern Times bookstore had, so I tagged along, clearly a foolish move.

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Favoritism and Friendship

23:23 18 Apr 2007. Updated: 20:13 13 May 2007

Where do the two blur into each other? Where does helping your friends become corrupt cronyism?

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Hidden Costs

23:00 17 Apr 2007

As I’ve been reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma and also thinking about pollution and global warming, the concept of hidden costs keeps coming up.

Pollution is an obvious “hidden cost” in typical capitalist systems: it’s very difficult to measure how much harm it does, and no cost is associated with that harm (except punitively, which is different from its showing up on a balance sheet).

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AJAX Cross-Site Scripting with Apache RewriteRule

23:48 16 Apr 2007. Updated: 10:22 17 Apr 2007

AJAX has a significant limitation: for security reasons, it can’t fetch data from sites other than the one the user is on. This makes a number of cool things much harder to do.

One way around this is the script tag hack. But that requires a third party that outputs JavaScript files, whereas what I want is to be able to process XML and/or HTML from that third party.

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00:42 15 Apr 2007. Updated: 10:25 17 Apr 2007

Organization makes a lot of things an awful lot easier. This is pretty obvious, but what’s been surprising to me are two ancillary points: small amounts of organization can make a big difference, and small amounts of disorganization can terminate entire projects.

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My Congressperson: Nancy Pelosi

23:32 14 Apr 2007. Updated: 00:36 01 May 2007

The congressperson for my district is Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House. Despite my rather strong interest in politics, prior to her rising to that position I barely knew her name—and she’s represented the 8th District since 1987, well before I lived here. Even now, I don’t know much about her.

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Do We Need Laws for ‘Booster Bags’?

23:48 13 Apr 2007

“Booster bag” is the term for a bag that’s been lined with aluminum foil for the purpose of foiling anti-theft tags in/on retail merchandise in order to make easier the feat of taking said merchandise out of the store without paying. Today’s San Francisco Chronicle has an article about the practice and a proposed bill that would outlaw the bags.

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MTG Worlds Reprints

23:40 12 Apr 2007. Updated: 22:22 06 Jul 2007

The World Championship deck reprints are some of my favorite MTG decks. They’re printed with different borders and backs, so they’re not tournament legal—but that means that you could get a deck worth about $400 in legal cards for between $10 and $15. I was extremely disappointed when they stopped printing these—2004 was the last World Championship to have four decks immortalized in reprint form.

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No Television Yet Lots of Sports

23:44 11 Apr 2007

Despite unplugging my television more than a year ago, and hence watching almost no sports in the interim, I still have the desire to do so. And particularly the urge to watch Yankees games.

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Political Turmoil in Legotown

21:59 10 Apr 2007. Updated: 12:46 21 May 2009

This article about Lego, power, and property in an elementary school was completely fascinating to me. It recounts the experiences in a clearly “alternative” school when the teachers and children attempted to unravel what was causing conflict over the resources of “Legotown”.

If you have any interest in politics, equality, children, education, or the nature of property, read the article.

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Applying Metadata

23:28 09 Apr 2007. Updated: 18:56 10 Apr 2007

As I’ve been continuing the process of moving files into my Subversion repository, I’ve decided on metadata to use with each file.

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Semantic Editor Application Search

15:10 08 Apr 2007

I’m still searching for semantic authoring tools, and spent some time yesterday trying out Vex and WYM editor. Both look promising, but neither does enough of what I want.

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