Scrawls from Preston...

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Sat 24 January 2009

Raising Octopus from Eggs

Where would people [like this]( go without the internet?

Wed 07 January 2009

Fixing PDB and TextMate for files with spaces in path

There is a cool little glue package out there called PdbTextMateSupport that allows you to highlight the current line of python code as you debug it in PDB, python's debugger. It works by sending URLs to textmate - however the python code does not escape spaces in the path, and ...

Thu 18 December 2008

quick python cgi to send email

In the previous post I mentioned a python script I was using with curl to send me a SMS message. Its a pretty quick and dirty one, but here is the script I use. Since these are quick messages meant for my phone - I don't do much with the ...

Thu 18 December 2008

Script to alert you when printing is done

At work I'm doing a bunch of printing of some large documents. I wanted a way of being notified when it was done printing. The action to take is up to you, I'm using curl to load a python CGI on a server to send an email/SMS ...

Mon 15 December 2008

stripping out ACLs

Here is a quick bash script to delete all ACLs from a file or folder:

#!/bin/bashLINECT=`ls -ed "$1" | wc -l`while [ $LINECT -gt 1 ]    do        chmod -a# 0 "${1}"        LINECT=`ls -ed "$1" | wc -l`    done

Sat 13 December 2008

Thank you NPR

In times of plunging gas prices - it takes some real smarts and guts to remind people that the peak oil problem has not disappeared.

Some quick observations. It seems that CERA is always contacted for the "oil is not a problem" perspective. I don't know why they get so ...

Fri 05 December 2008

Now to convince the barnacles to stay off

I predict we will see people getting excited about projects like this. But I have to wonder if the scientists working on these have ever seen the fouled bottom or pier piling. What is the energy cost after you factor in maintenance?

Thu 20 November 2008

Hard Drive Milestone

I can remember my first hard drive. It was in college - I think it was an IBM PC-AT - it was 20MB and it seemed huge at the time (and it was for all I had were wordperfect files) - and it was very expensive. I don't even remember how it ...

Mon 03 November 2008

Kudos to Amazon

What a great idea - maybe there is hope for the world afterall

Tue 28 October 2008

Easier to read man pages

The man utility is an ancient and good way of documenting command line tools in Unix. The downside is that it will display it in some sort of Unix pager, and I can never figure out how to go back up a page. This can be a pain when you ...

Fri 17 October 2008

They are trying

I really do believe Apple is trying to do the right thing

Wed 15 October 2008

Bizarre post from Ringo

Been a fan of the Beatles most of my life, but thisvideo post from Ringo is sad and strange.

Wed 08 October 2008

Setting Default Apps, duti calls

I had always intended this blog to have some technical tips in the mix, but haven't written up many, so here is one.

I manage an OS X environment at a school. We installed a new phone system that could email voicemail files as WAV files, and I wanted ...

Wed 06 August 2008

Props to her

I never thought the words "Paris Hilton" would ever be in my blog, but I got to give her props for this biting and funny retort:

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

Thu 24 July 2008

Facebook wants to be the social "LDAP" for the web

New Tool From Facebook Extends Its Web Presence

Web sites can ask users for their Facebook user name and password, instead of creating an identity verification system themselves, and offer their users the ability to import their list of friends from Facebook.

For a long time business has had the ...

Wed 09 July 2008

Is it worse than they say?

Data Fudging 101. The History Of US Government Statistics Manipulation

Phillips convincingly demonstrates that the real unemployment rate in the United States is between 9 and 12 percent, not the 5 percent or less that is officially claimed. The real rate of inflation is not 2 or 3 percent, but ...

Sat 21 June 2008

Said Simply

Here it is, plainly spoken:

Thu 19 June 2008

The fallacy of the plugin hybrid MPG

I saw an article the other day that set off my peeve alarm when it discussed a plugin hybrid that got 100 MPG. Now most everyone knows that MPG is Miles Per Gallon. That means that for every gallon, you get 100 miles. But since this is a plugin hybrid ...

Sat 07 June 2008

Why the oil price tidal wave of inflation is building

This article in the NY Times has several passages that I think illustrate why there are at least two phenomena that could be leading to a delayed impact of the current high oil prices.

First - There is an issue of the latency in large production quantities of both raw materials ...

Fri 06 June 2008

Ignorant Journalism

Wow - it doesn't get much dumber than this article on CNN. I know its risky to be on any side that is saying "This time its different", as nearly everything is cyclical. But cyclical and exponential trends can't mix forever. What people continue to not understand is that ...

Fri 06 June 2008

Keynote clone as a website

This clone of Apple's keynote presentation program in the form of an amazing javascript website is darn impressive.

Wed 28 May 2008

Google Street view on phone - am I missing something?

Just saw a couple clips of Google's Android Phone OS. There are some things that are cool and improved (like the unlock pattern code). But I'm a bit baffled by this feature:

So if you are standing on a street, what exactly is the point of being able ...

Fri 23 May 2008


This video is pretty amazing animation in its own right, the fact that it takes place across buildings and walls makes it that much more amazing. If the artist wasn't inspired by the animations of Bill Plimpton, I would be very surprised. Plimpton was a pioneer of this style ...

Thu 22 May 2008

Recycling energy (or making more use of it)

NPR had a story this morning about recycling energy. This is such a better area to be investing some research into over biofuels. It demonstrates a fundamental understanding of what constitutes waste heat and thermodynamics. One processes waste can be another's source. One of the examples they used, was ...

Sun 18 May 2008

Carbon Offsets: not the way to go

NPR had a bit this morning on carbon offsets. IMHO these are a pretty poor way to address the problem of carbon output. Most of these credits go towards things like wind and solar power and often claim to help you be "carbon neutral". These may reduce growth of carbon ...

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