July 27, 2003

Star Struck

I was sitting in a restaurant in Midtown last night when an older gentleman walked past our table with his quite young, quite attractive and quite pregnant wife.

I turned to my sister-in-law to remark on what a great scam this guy had going and her eyes were the size of dinner plates. "Do you know who that is???? It's Paul McCartney!"

And, although it took me several beats to suspend my own disbelief, it was.

The source of the music that I've spent thousands of collective hours listening to was sitting less than ten feet from our table. No entourage, no gorilla-like bodyguards, just a couple out for a nice dinner in Manhattan.

I suddenly understood why some people go nuts over celebrity encounters. It took all of my willpower not to stand up and accost the poor guy while he was eating dinner. I felt absolutely convinced that we would get along famously, if only we could get to know each other a little bit better.

Fortunately, common sense prevailed and we finished up our dessert and left the happy pair to finish their meal in peace. As we walked away, it occurred to me that I would probably never again be this close to a former Beatle in my entire life. A melancholy thought, really.

Posted by pmk at 11:53 PM | Comments (1)

July 23, 2003

Seymour Cray Quotes

I came across this presentation that Gordon Bell (yes, that Gordon Bell) gave in 1997 on Seymour Cray.

The most interesting bits came on the last slide:

"Seymour built simple machines -- he knew that if each step was simple, it would be fast."

"When he was told that Apple had just bought a Cray to help design the next Mac, Seymour commented that he had just bought a Mac to design the next Cray."

I take some issue with the first remark. Although Cray's machines were arguably simple architecturally, they were not simple to manufacture. But the second quote just made me laugh out loud. I'm sure Apple had a good reason to own a Cray (most likely to emulate new hardware before silicon had taped out), but still...

Posted by pmk at 6:08 PM | Comments (0)

Mmm...Plums

Came across this little tidbit by Carlos Williams while reading Our Lady of the Lost and Found:

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

Somehow this little poem really captures the joy of (illicit!) eating. I am not the greatest plum fan, but reading this again makes me wish I had some ripe plums hiding out in my freezer.

Posted by pmk at 6:56 AM | Comments (2)

July 22, 2003

Kaeru: Frog Extraordinaire

Straight from Japan (where else?), Kaeru the Frog is probably one of the best traveled stuffed animals out there. He has a remarkable expressive range for a plushie, easily exceeding that of Keanu Reeves or William Shatner.

Of course, other toys also far traveled have.

Posted by pmk at 8:16 PM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2003

My New Laptop

I picked up a Panasonic Let's Note W2 last week. It's a Centrino-based laptop with a DVD/CD-RW, 12.1" screen, integrated wireless Ethernet (802.11b), USB 2.0 etc etc etc. The kicker? 5 hours of real battery life and it weighs only 2.84 lbs.

It was featured on Gizmodo this week, so it must be cool. The good news is that this laptop, currently only available in Japan, will be coming to the US as the Toughbook W2 very soon!

Posted by pmk at 3:40 PM | Comments (1)

July 18, 2003

Santos L. Halper

Coming back from Seattle yesterday, I found a copy of the Denver Post in the seatback pocket. While searching for the crossword puzzle, I came across an amusing example of the high journalistic standards of this publication.

In the letters to the editor, a concerned citizen, Santos L. Halper, had chimed in on the subject of bear mauling – apparently a significant concern for Denverites. His statement:

…Could this be the sign that the bears have finally banded together and declared war on man for our crimes against the animal kingdom?

I think that most reasonable people would agree that it is.

Now, the only way to prevent some kind of horrible ursine “Planet of the Apes” dystopian future is to kill all the bears immediately. As free Americans, we cannot live under fear of random attacks on our way of life, and the only way to be truly safe from bear attacks is to eliminate the threat of bears forever. Death to the bears!

I was less surprised by the extreme nature of Mr. Halpor’s statement than by the fact that he was able to share it at all. Imaginary cartoon dogs so rarely participate in public discourse these days.

Posted by pmk at 7:36 AM | Comments (3)

July 10, 2003

Zelda/SNES Music Video

Shamlessly stolen from the boing boing guest bar blog, I give you a Legend of Zelda music video

Posted by pmk at 2:58 PM | Comments (1)

July 5, 2003

Linux 2.5 IPsec backported to 2.4

David Miller is maintaining a backport (caution, link requires BitKeeper) of the new IPsec kernel infrastructure in the Linux 2.5 kernel.

This is important for a couple of reasons. It means that we are likely to see RedHat, at least, shipping this code in the near future. Being able to go from a Linux 2.4 to an eventual Linux 2.6 kernel without changing your IPsec configuration is very attractive.

More importantly, however, is that the new IPsec infrastructure fits much more cleanly into the IP stack. FreeSWAN has been around for Linux for years, but their somewhat byzantine way of intercepting packets for encryption/decryption breaks dynamically routed environments. While these problems can be worked around (typically by setting up GRE tunnels and then running FreeSWAN through them -- blurgh), a clean, integrated IPsec implementation in the Linux kernel is long overdue. Plus, folks in the US will be able to contribute to this project, whch they weren't able to do with FreeSWAN, due to the project's concern with American crypto export laws.

But this doesn't mean that FreeSWAN will go away entirely, however. For pre-2.4 Linux kernels, it remains the only viable option for IPsec. And, work has already begun to port some of the FreeSWAN user-space tools, most notably the Opportunistic Encryption infrastructure, to the new kernel hooks. Herbert Xu appears to be leading up this effort.

Posted by pmk at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)

July 4, 2003

Doonesbury

The tools we built for Dean showed up on Doonesbury today.

Posted by pmk at 12:57 PM | Comments (1)