Monthly Archive for July, 2004

My Electoral Nightmare

I was fool­ing around with this neat New York Times inter­ac­tive Elec­tion Guide, and I inputted my pre­dic­tions for how the states will vote in Novem­ber.

This was my worst-case sce­nario, with Bush win­ning both Flori­da and Ohio… the result? TIED.

It’ll be the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives rather than the Supreme Court, this time around…

DNC — Tuesday plans

UPDATE: Lame… no celebri­ty sight­ings, but we snapped some pic­tures of the secu­ri­ty perime­ter, which I will post lat­er.

We’re going to ven­ture into the “pro­tect­ed” zone across the riv­er tonight. Tbone describes his DNC out­ing last night, spot­ting For­mer CA Gov Gray Davis, and the less tal­ent­ed half of the celib­ri­ty fomer­ly known as “Ben-ifer”, Ben Affleck.

We watched a lot of the con­ven­tion on CNN and C-SPAN last night. I keep wait­ing to see Won­kette on MTV, but there were Andy Dick re-runs on instead.

I miss Tabitha Soren

DNC Commute

My com­mute last night back to Boston was unevent­ful, (which seems to be the con­sen­sus). I think half our pop­u­la­tion was scared away by the DNC.

Heli­copters are buzzing around our house, and since we live near the Charles riv­er, we’ve noticed Coast Guard and Police boats patrolling the riv­er in for­ma­tion… a strange sight, giv­en that on any giv­en day you’d usu­al­ly see small sail­boats and row­ing crews.

Boston is locked-down, but I feel safe. I think it’s unrea­son­able to expect that an event this size will ever be held again with­out tight secu­ri­ty. Though I under­stand con­cerns about civ­il lib­er­ties and free speech, can you imag­ine how weak the Democ­rats would look if a ter­ror­ist attack hap­pened at their Con­ven­tion?

The image of State Police in riot gear is pri­mar­i­ly a deter­rent — the mes­sage is, “we’re ready”. If the police actu­al­ly had to use that out­fit, then I’d be wor­ried.

Airport Express

Apple's new Airport ExpressThe Air­port Express I ordered last month arrived yes­ter­day.

After 2+ hours of fid­dling, googling, plug­ging and unplug­ging, I’ve final­ly got Karen O and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs stream­ing from my Powerbook’s iTunes, to my Onkyo receiv­er and Cam­bridge Sound­works speak­ers.

The prob­lem was to get my $60 Net­gear router to rec­og­nize the AX —as the doc­u­men­ta­tion makes no promis­es of con­nect­ing to a third-par­ty wire­less router, (on a side note, I’ve nev­er under­stood the pric­ing of the orig­i­nal Air­port Extreme—at $200, what advan­tages could this mod­el pos­si­bly offer over any oth­er IEEE 802.11g router?). Expect­ing it to plug-in and work, like all my Apple gear, I became increas­ing­ly frus­trat­ed with that blink­ing amber light (which tells you there is a prob­lem, but pro­vides no oth­er details).

After search­ing around in vain, I stum­bled across this thread on the Apple forums: AX: Switch­ing between Client and Net­work ?—and cjb65 points out that all you have to do is place a “$” before the 128-bit WEP key, when you set up the net­work… and pow! it works… Although, I’ve yet to get it to extend the range of my pri­ma­ry net­work. The AX is mere­ly act­ing as a “client” now.

It sounds good, how­ev­er, there are some “cons” to report:

  • AX bypass­es my Vol­ume Log­ic iTunes plu­g­in, (which nor­mal­ly improves the qual­i­ty of play­back quite a bit). I’m not too hap­py about that, though per­haps this will be ironed out in the future.
  • I wish that the AX streamed all audio to my stereo, not mere­ly music from iTunes.

Still, now that is stream­ing well enough, I’m impressed. I can’t wait to take it on the road, and use it as a portable wire­less net­work. Now, if only my cell phone could browse the web…

Support the Kerry/Edwards ticket

Kerry/Edwards bumper stickerJohn Ker­ry made a great choice for his VP run­ning mate — they will make a great team.

If you’re a sup­port­er of Kerry/Edwards, they will give you a free bumper stick­er, just for sign­ing up with the cam­paign.

The down­side is, they’ll email you a cou­ple of times a week, (which some may find inun­dat­ing). I think that’s a fair trade.

UPDATE: Inci­den­tal­ly, I did it, and when I hit sub­mit, a page appeared say­ing “help us cov­er the cost of mail­ing this, won’t you?” So I felt guilty, and sent anoth­er $25 con­tri­bu­tion.

the 4th in Boston

Boston Fireworks

Fireworks over the Charles, Boston, Massachusetts

I gen­er­al­ly don’t enjoy stay­ing in Boston for two hol­i­days — 4th of July, and New Year’s Eve… This town is a tame place for a par­ty, and the con­cept of the roof-deck seems to be lost on the land­lords here.

Still, I’m not hold­ing fast to my rule this year… we spent the New Year in the South End, and we spent last night BBQ’ing at our house. It was a short walk down to the Charles Riv­er for the fire­works… pret­ty low-key this year, and we couldn’t hear the Pops, because they appar­ent­ly decid­ed Cam­bridge didn’t need speak­ers this year.

Sat­ur­day was spent at the Casa del Jason, Bri­an, Adam, Dana, & jerin (whom I shouldn’t even link to, because he’s using a hor­ri­ble host­ing ser­vice), drink­ing beer and eat­ing prop­er­ly-encased hot dogs. They throw quite a par­ty — no small feat when your house is sand­wiched between a pri­ma­ry school and a play­ground.

At least we’re get­ting away next week­end– camp­ing in the Fin­ger Lakes… and there will be wine

Magnetbox

So, what’s going on with Mag­net­box? Quite a change from the old site…

Chernobyl

Chernobyl power plantUPDATE: Appar­ent­ly, Miss Ele­na wasn’t com­plete­ly hon­est… how­ev­er, I still think it’s a fab­u­lous sto­ry.

In April of 1986, I was eight years old, and I have no rec­ol­lec­tion of the Cher­nobyl dis­as­ter. Yet, it’s hard to imag­ine any sin­gle event more dev­as­tat­ing than what hap­pened on April 25–26, 1986. Hun­dreds of thou­sands died, and many more were forced out of their homes in an instant, nev­er to return. Radi­a­tion flood­ed the air, land, and water around the site, form­ing a ‘dead zone’.

Albany Dan point­ed out a link on Fark to a first-per­son account of some­one who has ven­tured back into this ‘dead-zone’. Her name is Ele­na, and her sto­ries of motor­cy­cle rides to Cher­nobyl are fas­ci­nat­ing.

As I pass through the check point, I feel that I have entered an unre­al world. In the dead zone, the silence of the vil­lages, roads, and woods seem to tell some­thing at me.…something that I strain to hear.…something that attracts and repels me both at the same time. It is divine­ly eerie — like step­ping into that Sal­vador Dali paint­ing with the drip­ping clocks.

The read­ings on the asphalt paving is 500 -3000 micro­roent­gens, depend­ing upon where you stand. That is 50 to 300 times the radi­a­tion of a nor­mal envi­ron­ment. If I step 10 meters for­ward, geiger counter will run off the scale. If I walk a few hun­dred meters towards the reac­tor, the radi­a­tion is 3 roent­gens per hour — which is 300,000 times nor­mal. If I was to keep walk­ing all the way to the reac­tor, I would glow in the dark tonight.

Her pho­tos are incred­i­ble. I can’t imag­ine hav­ing the courage to do what she’s done, but I’m glad to have learned more about what hap­pened in those days back in April, 1986.