House Stuff

Tim Jarrett has sold his house in Seattle and moved back to Boston, where he is having some issues with his new house. In the course of his adventures, he links to House in Progress, which in turn links to lots of cool real estate and construction-related items, including ApartmentTherapy.

As I’ve mentioned, we’re trying to sell our house, so property matters are on my mind. Have you noticed how most local news is about real estate?

A Plan of Action

So I know where I’m going with this journal, here’s my plan of action.

  1. dump the data out of Radio Userland
  2. dump the data out of MySQL, or at least look at it
  3. insert the data from Radio Userland into MySQL, taking care to maintain the post identification numbers
  4. fix the WordPress rewrites so that none of the Radio-created URLs break
  5. move this publication to its resting place

I’m not entirely happy with writing on-line, but I was doing that more than not anyway, so I’ll just have to copy things that I write off-line from a saved file.


Corinne Maier responds to the lack of opportunity in France’s ossified corporate structures by encouraging less work than more. In an article on her and her book, Bonjour Paresse, the New York Times writes

In many ways, Ms. Maier is typical of France’s intelligentsia, overeducated and underemployed. She studied economics and international relations at the country’s elite National Foundation of Political Sciences, or Sciences-Po, before earning a doctorate in psychoanalysis.

But she works just 20 hours a week writing dry economic reports at the state electric utility, Électricité de France, for which she is paid about $2,000 a month.

Sounds like she needs a blog.

The Times, selectively snipped, continues

“Work is organized a little like the court of Louis XIV, very complicated and very ritualized so that people feel they are working effectively when they are not,” she said.

Her solution? Rather than keep up what she sees as an exhausting charade, people who dislike what they do should, as she puts it, discreetly disengage. If done correctly – and her book gives a few tips, such as looking busy by always carrying a stack of files – few co-workers will notice, and those who do will be too worried about rocking the boat to complain. Given the difficulty of firing employees, she says, frustrated superiors are more likely to move such subversive workers up than out.

With chapters titled “The Morons Who Are Sitting Next To You” and “Beautiful Swindles,” it declares that corporate culture is nothing more than the “crystallization of the stupidity of a group of people at a given moment.”

This may not be a peculiarly French problem. I do believe that Dilbert speaks of something similar.

Not Watching

I don’t think I’m the only one who wants to watch the fencing matches, though I may be the laziest member of the potential audience: I’m not willing to change my behavior to suit the whims of NBC. It would be nice if I could watch some small snippet of the matches at the Olympics site, but, no, that’s too much trouble for them. Might cut into their television revenues.

Tell you what, dumbass, I’m not watching the fucking commercials. I have TiVo. I’ll just have to look at the schedule to see when I should record.

Partial Translations

The news media have done a partial translation of the name of Moqtada al-Sadr’s militia. They’ve translated “army,” but not “mahdi.” This Wikipedia article on the mahdi may be more comprehensible, or you may prefer citations of the various hadith on the madhi.

Ah, and now you see why it remains untranslated.

The Idiocies of Categorization

The Washington Post reports on radio advertisements which complain about Teresa Heinz-Kerry categorizing herself as an African-American.

Another ad attacks Teresa Heinz Kerry, who, at the Democratic convention last month cited her birth and upbringing in Mozambique and who has described herself as African American. In the radio commercial, the announcer says: “His wife says she’s an African American. While technically true, I don’t believe a white woman, raised in Africa, surrounded by servants, qualifies.”

Look, if you want to differentiate between people based on the amount of melanin in their skin, or by their ethnic origin, then don’t use a geographic category. That just makes you a moron.

Assume the Net Works

I’ve given up Radio Userland’s aggregator. I had to do it cold turkey, but I did it. I tried SharpReader for a week, and while I like some of the features, like 410 GONE support, it’s much faster to read the headlines in a single long scroll than it is to click about. Same thing with Newzcrawler (and the Ouchlook integration issues), NetNewsWire, and FeedDemon. They’re all good for a leisurely read every now and again, but when you’re scanning and deleting lots of lines, they’re just too much work.

On the recommendation of several people, I’m trying Bloglines. It’s nice. It’s fast. And it fails when the network does.

JetBlue needs 37 Signals

Using a 56kb dial-up connection, I really notice failures in the web applications which assume network state will persist, or which have, under other circumstances, minor usability flaws.

Take JetBlue‘s ticketing process for example. All of the pages are POSTs, and don’t persist in cache, so using the browser’s back button could reissue the transaction. This is not something you want when you’re spending $800 on non-refundable tickets. This failure is aggravated when there’s a problem with the credit card, either because their systems fail or you mistype a number; they tell you to go back, but it’s not that easy. And these are nothing compared to your line dropping in the middle of a transaction like picking seats.

Song shows you the seats available on the flight before you begin the purchase, so if that’s important, you can eliminate flights with a paucity of seats.


On Monday I upgraded my account at Pair Networks to include MySQL and PHP support. It just incidentally includes more disk space. My storage over-usage fees have been about the same as the pricing for the new features, so I should have done this many moons ago.

About 5 minutes ago, I installed WordPress. When it works, this shit is easy.

One thing I don’t like, and will have to address, are the post-id-based URIs.