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November 14, 2018

It Survived!

Just read that Pixy purged the spam (para)sites. So I had to check to see if my collection of inconsequential babble had been passed over. 


Posted by: thornharp at 05:42 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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March 19, 2017

Living Ships

It’s so sad seeing a ship go to the breakers. Sad, but necessary. Modern commercial ships are built around their engines (big frackin’ diesel, one each), and when that engine cannot be maintained in-place, it makes economic sense to scrap the ship and build a new one.

What if a ship could repair itself like biological organisms do? What if they could extract from seawater the elements they need to synthesize repair material? Even farther out, what if they could extract from seawater the fuel for their reactors?

What about a ship that wandered the oceans harvesting the debris of human technology, rendering it back to usable feedstocks? Microfibers and microspheres could be reaped along with the plastic from the (semi-mythical) Pacific whirlpool.

What kind of main propulsion engine could be built that incorporated nanotech repair bots in its lubricant stream, and what kind of indicators could be built into the wearing surfaces that the nanobots could recognize and respond to?

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July 21, 2011

Contaminated Appleseed

Impressions after episode 1, Appleseed XIII:

The screenwriter and director, Fujisaku Junichi and Hamana Takayuki, have drastically altered the tone of the Appleseed story. Their approach in (re-) telling this story is to dramatic characterization what Mel Brooks is to subtlety. They have turned Deunan Knute into a soggy emo kid, and turned the back story behind her (manga version) cocky genius-level accomplishment in learning her father's police and combat skills into an implied abusive childhood where she was forced to learn nasty icky knife and gun stuff.

At least they didn't mess up Briareos noticeably. Yet.

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May 05, 2011

Sanitation Detail

After reading all the fuss about the final disposition of Bin Laden's body, it seemed to me that it would have been far more poetic to find a Smithfield lagoon with room in it for one more substandard carcass.

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April 22, 2011

Rounding Up The Zombies

Taking a run at gathering up all the pieces of blogs I've left lying around the internet. First: Find them all. Second: See if I can remember the passwords. Save the passwords in PasswordSafe. Back up the password archive to (multiple) flash drives.

After all of that, decide if it makes sense to consolidate all that content in one place, and drop all but one blog.

Posted by: thornharp at 11:14 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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July 04, 2010

How Time Flies When You're Shovelling ...

Over a year ago I moved mom up here to San Jose. Since then her dementia became so obvious that I had to move her to assisted living. I found a family to adopt her dog. I'm still sorting out the financial and legal mess -- IRS is not too happy about a tax return that wasn't submitted. And, just to put the icing on the turd, it looks like some quack has been charging Medicare for imaginary services using my mom's account.

Anyway, it's time for our annual tribute to Robert Congreve. "Have a Bang for Bobby!"

Posted by: thornharp at 07:32 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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June 13, 2009

Back to work

This coming Monday (15 June) I go back to work after a one-week pseudo-vacation that my wife and I spent moving my mother from San Marcos to San Jose. Now that mom is beginning to get settled in at her new place, I can return to see what radioactive mutant code-roaches have emerged from the in-house application I wrote that began to go psychotic just before I had to take that week off.

Such eager anticipation ...

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January 06, 2009

Happy New Yeart

This is the second try for composing this post. The first time I was using the Google Chrome browser -- and the editor wouldn't accept any input. This time I'm using Firefox (with NoScript set to accept mee.nu) and everything looks good.

Oh, well ... Chrome is a beta, right?

In other news, the year is off to a blazing start as thornharp demonstrates that he is not utterly senile by remembering the blog password he hasn't used in over a year!

Posted by: thornharp at 02:59 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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September 21, 2007

Oh! Edo Rocket

I just spotted an homage to one of my favorite OAVs, Photon, at 3:34 of episode 12 of Oh! - Edo Rocket! - which is becoming another of my favorites.

Oh! - Edo Rocket! is the story of a young fireworks maker named Tamaya who encounters a celestial maiden who needs a way to get back home to the moon -- so he vows to make a rocket that will take her there.

Problem: This happens during the time of the Tenpo reforms - fireworks are illegal. Problem: There is another being from the same celestial civilization running around killing and drinking blood. The local law has responded by declaring open season on celestial beings. Problem: Tamaya and all his neighbors in their rowhouse neighborhood are broke because of the Tenpo reforms. The work they used to do is now illegal. So how can they (the neighbors admire his goal and want to help) put together a moon rocket program?

I want to see this in Region 1 - soon!


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September 01, 2007

And furthermore ...

I really resent the phrase 'under God' being inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance through a campaign by the Knights of Columbus. I was in second grade when the change was made, and even then it offended me. The nation had done just fine with the existing pledge up until then. Why did someone want me to make a public affirmation of something so personal and private? Maybe Congress determined that the new Pledge would be a good way to catch the undercover Communist second-graders?

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August 18, 2007

Religion peddlars

I just got back from shooing away a pair of well-intentioned nuisances from my front door. They were wanting to 'share'. I gently suggested that they would do better to share it somewhere else. The elderly lady in the wheelchair asked why I didn't look happy. I was a good lad and did NOT tell her that I was really irked at being interrupted to accommodate her compulsion to 'share'.


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August 02, 2007

Foxit PDF Creator

doesn't like Windows 2000. The installer program blows up midway through the installation.

CORRECTION [01 September 2007]: The installer doesn't like corrupted Win2K. I just ran Windows Update and then just for fun tried running the PDF Creator installer again. It worked correctly.

The installer works correctly on WinXP Pro (my laptop). PDF Creator as a Windows printer does a good job of generating PDF files.

Customer support at Foxit Software responded quickly and courteously to my emails.

Posted by: thornharp at 08:00 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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Apology to a Hippo

After more investigation, it looks like I was wrong in blaming Adobe Acrobat for the problems I was seeing in Thunderbird. I upgraded Thunderbird from 1.5.x to 2.0.x - and apparently the new version is significantly more demanding of resources. Having Acrobat in the mix just compounded the problem (resource usage), but Acrobat per se did not prevent Thunderbird from working.

With Acrobat removed, Thunderbird is usable, but still noticeably slower than the older version. Me and my cranky old 866 MHz PIII Frankenbox will just have to make do, somehow.

Posted by: thornharp at 07:46 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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August 01, 2007

Hippopotamus In A Tutu

That's Adobe Acrobat - at least that's what it's been on my 866 MHz PIII system. Every time I did an upgrade or new install of an application that used the internet stack, Acrobat had to reinstall itself. Well, not any more ...

The last straw was yesterday when I upgraded Thunderbird. At reboot, Acrobat reinstalled. The next time I tried to use Thunderbird it couldn't log in to the pop server.

For comparison purposes, I downloaded and installed Opera, imported my Thunderbird settings, and looked for new mail. No problem - it connected to the pop server with no delays and fetched the mail. NOTE: I don't recommend Opera's email feature. It works, but all the incoming mail goes into one list - it doesn't let you create sub-folders for sorting and storing your received mail by categories.

Since Opera showed there was not a problem on the pop side, I removed Acrobat, then cleaned out the Acrobat dustbunnies the uninstall program left in the registry.

I downloaded and installed Foxit Reader, a free PDF reader. I recommend this reader because it loads much faster than Acrobat or Acrobat Reader and, as I found when I next tried Thunderbird, it doesn't stomp all over the internet stack. Yay - now I can get the chain-letter spam my wife forwards to me from work!

So long, Acrobat (good riddance, you ungainly bitch!)  For now, I'll use Open Office to convert or create PDF files. Later I'll probably get the non-free PDF creator and editor packages from Foxit. Based on the performance of their free reader, it will be money well spent.

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July 26, 2007

Russian Doll Technology

Matroska - the wooden dolls that stack inside each other, or a logical container for elements of a multimedia presentation. In the second meaning, it's my favorite video format, particularly for digisubs.

Digital fansubs in the matroska (.mkv) format allow the video, audio, subtitle and other elements of the digisub to be extracted, modified, or replaced using freely available tools (MKVToolNix).

Sometimes the translation of dialog in a digisub will be literally correct versus the intent and structure of the original language, but not sensible in English. If it bothers me enough, I just extract the sub track, edit it so that it makes sense to me, and replace the old track with my edited one.

Other times a video's sound level will be too low, or maybe just low in one part compared with the rest of the program. Even if the original video is in avi format, it's easy to convert the .avi to .mkv, then extract the audio track for editing to adjust the levels.

If you like monkeying with video, these are good tools to have:

Posted by: thornharp at 04:52 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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Poang Poang

Yesterday I assembled a pair of armchairs with footstools from Ikea, the Poang model. They were a gift to my wife and me from our daughter, Sgt. Fox, USMC. She attached one condition to the gift: "Get rid of that ugly old couch!"

Just to have room in the living room for the armchairs, that couch had to go. It didn't look worn, but none of the local charities would take it. OK - demolition time! About four hours of sweat and the ex-couch was in pieces small enough to smuggle out in installments in the weekly garbage pickup.  (Tools used: Ginsu cleaver, sharpening steel, socket and screwdriver set, pry bar, big hammer, Mackeson Triple Stout)


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July 22, 2007


- a development framework for web applications in Perl, is not for Win32 Perl programmers. At least not for this lazy, impatient one.

The support from ActiveState via ppm does not include Catalyst::Devel , and a CPAN style install is just a pain. Not just in Win32 - even on a RHEL4 VM it's a pain.

On the other hand, installing rails, given a working ruby installation and a broadband internet connection, is just a matter of keying in
gem install rails --include-dependencies

The problem I was trying to address was that so far I've written all my web applications in Perl/CGI/DBI, but I seem to spend too much time reinventing the same basic functionality. Ruby on Rails looks like a much cleaner way to go, but I would like to have been able to keep using my Perl skills.

From what I've seen so far, RoR versus Catalyst, my approach was about as forward-looking as Intel's years of dragging along 16-bit register conventions into 32-bit processors, restricting them  to 20-bit addressing. (-- because who would ever need more than 1 meg of memory?)

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July 21, 2007

Harry Who?

Picked up a copy of HPDH at Costco this afternoon. I finally started reading around 10 this evening. So far, Harry's still alive, but my eyes are about to drop out of my head and run off to wherever eyes go for a vacation.

Posted by: thornharp at 10:57 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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I like my job

... what there is of it. And now from the online news I see that if this job was full-time I would be making more (gross) at minimum wage than I am now at this internship gig. AND I would have benefits.

On the other hand, part-time work leaves me time for learning new tricks, like Ruby on Rails.

Posted by: thornharp at 09:30 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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July 20, 2007

test ... test .. Is this thing turned on?

If you're looking for anything interesting around here, you're a little early. In fact, if you find something interesting, tell me about it.

I just moved here so that I could post comments on another mee.nu blog, but as long as I'm here I might as well get something done.

(crickets chirping)

Any day now ...

When it happens, content on this blog will contain a mix of anime, generic grumbling, coding adventures (Perl/CGI, Java, C, Ruby) and other assorted horrors.

Maybe even how to make your own anime-ish stuffed toys. Or not.

Posted by: thornharp at 01:53 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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