8/30/07

You Still Can't Trust the Internet

I mean for accuracy, not for connectivity. A few years back, I blogged The Dilution of Truth on the Internet. Recently, I was looking for this quote from the movie "Animal House":
Nothing is impossible for the man who refuses to listen to reason.
Now, it amazes me that this isn't all over the Internet. I mean I think (yes, that is key) that is totally brilliant. But, when I looked in the Internet, I found this 1) quoted without attribution, 2) quoted from the movie "Animal House," which is correct, and attributed to the character Bluto (which is incorrect—it was Otter), and attributed to Maynard G. Krebbs in the TV series "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis." (Can anyone verify this? I remember Otter, I am old enough to remember Dobie and Maynard, but I don't remember him saying this. But, I was very young.)

Anyway, who can you trust?

8/26/07

Martinis, #3

Never order a martini at a "cocktail reception" at a hotel. They are usually not set up for mixing cocktails. Stick to drinks on the rocks or with a mixer. I was hopeful at a recent reception. I saw good gin (Tanqueray) and I saw dry vermouth. So, I asked for a martini on the rocks. (They just do not have any way to properly mix cocktails.) He looked at me with a blank expression. I tried again. Then I said, "I tell you what. Put 3 ounces of this gin in a glass with some ice. Then splash in some of that vermouth there."

"Oh," he said to me, "that's called a Manhattan."

"Thanks," I answered, taking my drink.

(Note to those who do not know. A Manhattan is made with whiskey, not gin, and sweet vermouth, not dry. Aside from that, they are identical ... in that they are both served cold and in a glass.)

Two corrections. Not just "whiskey," but rye whiskey (which is what I mean by "whiskey"). And a month or so I did retry asking and did get a real martini (albeit, in a wine glass, not a cocktail glass).

8/23/07

My Mac Let Me Down (Sort of)

This morning started out like any Saturday morning, for the most part. I got up a bit earlier than usual. Started coffee, read e-mail. Some piece of e-mail led me to a web browser. Then things started to go bad.

I got the Spinning Beach Ball of Death (SBBOD). I was able to move to other applications. But, I could not bring up the system monitor, though the performance meter I had running did not indicate a problem. The hard drive was making a noise I did not like. No, I cannot describe it. It was seeking far to much and making too much noise.

I power cycled it. No joy. It would not boot. I booted in option mode. I got an alternating folder icon with a question mark. Hmmm. To make a long story short, I took it over to the Apple Store in the Columbia (MD) Mall and talked to a David at the Genius Bar. I was hoping he could diagnose the problem at least, or fix it. He did diagnose it: failed hard drive or failed bridge controller. Either way, I needed to send it out for repair, so I signed the paperwork, gave a credit card (to pay the $310 charge—$100 labor for a PB G4 12" + $210 flat rate repair charge for same). I should get it back in 7 to 10 days.

The good news: It was only $310; the last time I backed up my home directory was 3 days ago; my e-mail is on an IMAP server, so it is (was?) on my Mac and also on my server.

The bad news: I don't back up my non-home files. Particularly, the Ultilities and Applications directories are not backed up. So, any applications I've added or system settings I've made will have to be reinstalled/remade. Ah, well. Not so very bad news.

I'll report on my progress. For now I am using my Linux desktop on which all of my files were backed up.

Drop me e-mail if you have any back-up schemes you would like to share. I suppose I should automate the process and I should back up everything periodically, and I guess I'd better copy the back-up files from the Linux server to a DVD and put it in my safety deposit box. Any ideas?

I got my PowerBook back yesterday, Wednesday. I am restoring the contents of my original HDD. I will report more here later.

8/17/07

False Sense of Security

Some colleagues and I at APL were talking about the very old subject of the uselessness or dangers of a false sense of security. (See the sixth axiom at Security Axioms.) And today, Bruce Schneier's Crypto-Gram Newsletter showed up in my mailbox. One of the many great references caught my eye, so after you check out the newsletter, click on the link for A Pilot on Airline Security. An interesting read. Which reminds me of another interesting read, and still relevant. Marcus Ranum's The Myth of Homeland Security, which I reviewed here.