Mars, Coffee, Wireless, Overheard Conversations, Books, NoSpam

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Holy crap! When do we get to take one of these to Mars to bat­tle acid-blooded aliens???

Speaking of Mars, I dis­cov­ered the other day that we sent a Lego astro­naut (or, as they are call­ing it astro­bot) to Mars. It is basi­cally there to act as some­thing to get kids inter­ested, marketing/advertising for Lego, and as a spin­dle to hold down a DVD of people's names (hope­fully, guard­ing it well against mar­t­ian spam­mers). Still, it is pretty cool. The first Legoman in space! Woot!

It seems a gigan­tor lap­top attracts more atten­tion up here than down in SoCal. Well, either that or peo­ple are more will­ing to chat about it. I was hang­ing out at the Borders today for half the day, debat­ing whether or not to con­tinue my T-Mobile Hotspot sub­scrip­tion, and five dif­fer­ent peo­ple came up to me to chat about either the com­puter or Borders' wire­less ser­vice. As I said, I am debat­ing whether to con­tinue pay­ing for that wire­less. Border's is not too far away from the house (plus it also works at the SIX Starbucks within two miles of the house). There are a bunch of free WiFi nodes around, but they are mostly down­town and are not free when you add in park­ing. As sub­sti­tute pointed out, Borders runs their own cafe. For some rea­son, I thought both them and Barnes and Noble got their cof­fee from Starbuck's-overcooked-and-burnt-coffee-emporium, but nope. Up here, it is all Peet's Coffee, which is good. Plus, they have a nice Jasmine Green Tea which is tol­er­a­ble. I would have pre­ferred straight-up green, or per­haps a mix with a mint, but the Jasmine is not too bad.

Also, while at Border's, I got to over­hear a num­ber of con­ver­sa­tions, includ­ing the hair­dressers that own their own busi­ness and are look­ing for a way to auto­mate it. They were look­ing for some­thing more advanced than QuickBooks, but less $mon­key than a cus­tom IBM thingey. Then, there was the lady with two kids. She got them pizza from the cafe, which was too cold accord­ing to their loud com­plains. Those kids had the most elab­o­rate and gigan­tic pop-up books. As I recall, one was a com­plete spooky cas­tle and the other was a com­plete spooky man­sion. These things seri­ously opened up to sev­eral cubic feet of struc­ture per page and were meant to not be opened flat on the table, but sit­ting upright so that the spine is per­pen­dic­u­lar to the table. They were from the dis­count bin, and I almost went over to check them out in detail and maybe get one. I did not do that tonight, but think I may have to go back tomor­row for fur­ther inves­ti­ga­tion.

I have a new floor lamp and a new table lamp. To round out my day of con­sumerism, I have a new, cheap minia­ture dig­i­tal radio (the pic­ture makes it look gigan­tic, but it really is tall-stack-of-credit-cards-tiny) because the one thing I can­not lis­ten to with the iPod while sit­ting at a cof­fee shop is live NPR. Sure, I could stream it over the wire­less, but why wear down the lap­top bat­tery with the extra drain of wire­less activ­ity plus audio decod­ing when I can offload that to a pair of AAA's? Speaking of NPR, the local affil­i­ates, Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), seem to be really good at tying in their NPR and PBS offer­ings. I keep hear­ing adverts that go some­thing like, “tune in your tele­vi­sion at 6pm for Blah, then your radio at 7pm for Related-Blah.” I guess if you have the power over the local pub­lic radio and tele­vi­sion and do not have to respond to advertisers' needs, you can do fun lit­tle tie-in's like that. Their new pro­gram Philosophy Talk has the poten­tial of being really good, but makes me cringe at how bad it could eas­ily end up being.

Feedle was right. Getting the lat­est SpamAssassin run­ning on DreamHost (as opposed to the crufty old one they have installed system-wide on their Debian 3.0/woody boxes) was a piece of cake. Or maybe I should qual­ify that as “a piece of cake for some­one used to './configure && make && make install' as well as mess­ing with .proc­mailrc files.” It was not double-click and you are done, but it was pretty easy for a Unix pro­gram. It would be nice of Dreamhost to upgrade to a more recent proc­mail though, so I drop the wacky lit­tle 's/^rom: /From: /' workaround. Next up? Poking SPF records into my DNS, assum­ing Dreamhost and/or (the two places host­ing DNS for var­i­ous domains) give me access to TXT records.

Posted in: Dear Diary

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