Well, that didn’t take long. Asking a fellow passenger about his iPad, I caught myself sliding right back into A Southern drawl. I suppose it’s true, what they say: You can take the man out of Texas…
Google is sponsoring free wifi on all domestic Delta flights until the beginning of January, to promote it's Chrome web browser. I already use Chrome for some things, and quite like it. Free wifi onboard I also like.
We’ve had some choppy air on this flight, but it’s smooth sailing now. The sunset is pretty darn lovely from up here. Touch-down in Austin is coming up in another forty-five minutes. I’d say it’s almost time for barbecue. CORRECTION: Time for mom’s pot roast—even better!
Well, that didn’t take long. Asking a fellow passenger about his iPad, I caught myself sliding right back into A Southern drawl. I suppose it’s true, what they say: You can take the man out of Texas…
This is my new dining table, a 2.4 meter long solid oak table in a simple and modern style. I’m mostly pleased with it. However, it has a bit of a bow in it, and considering how much I paid for it, I’m not sure I’m willing to accept this defect. Even with this problem though, I think the table is quite beautiful.
I am considering getting benches for the long sides, and two chairs for the ends.
For all their bluster about being against Darwin and for Jesus, the fundies on the Tea Party fringe are actually pushing for an agenda that’s their dogma’s exact antithesis: a dog-eat-dog, survival of the fittest society where the gap between rich and poor widens every day and a persons value to society is judged solely on the basis of how rich he is. In the Tea Party Utopia, feudalism is the way of the world; corporations and co-opted governments conspire to perpetuate the status quo; and the Golden Rule is replaced by an amoral policy of treating your neighbor as a potential obstacle to success.
Tax cuts for the rich exacerbate the growing income disparity, forfeiting much needed investments in the country’s future just to line the pockets of those who already have more than they need. As Matt Miller rightly pointed out in his Washington Post editorial yesterday, it is particularly galling that the Republicans and their wealthy benefactors are unwilling to make the slightest sacrifice, even during a time of war and appalling deficits.
When the far Right succeeds, it does so because its fiercest adherents are so adept at doublethink that their followers, incensed into a self-righteous and xenophobic fury, do not notice—or ignore—the hypocrisy.
On Saturday, I purchased a few solid oak tables at Jumbo in Dietlikon. Here’s the coffee table in the living room. The table is just right for the space, and matches the terra cotta tile perfectly.
My dining table should arrive on the 16th or 17th. I’m debating whether to get chairs or benches for it. The table is 2.4 meters long, and benches would allow greater flexibility in the number of people seated on each side; however, chairs are more comfortable. I will decide once I’ve seen the table in place in the dining room.
The small square table that I had originally intended to be a work table in the corner of the dining room—and a place to put a microwave oven—turned out to be bit too short for that purpose. I will move it to the guest room, where it will serve as a small desk. Additional furniture acquisitions will have to wait until after the holidays, because I simply do not have a free weekend day until the New Year!
The past two mornings, I have bicycled to work. It’s a fifteen-minute ride up the gentle slope of Alte Landstrasse. When the road passes through the southern part of Kilchberg, it offers a stunning vista of the Lake of Zürich. This morning the sun was shining brightly and there was a thin veil of haze upon the lake to the south.
When I saw these black leather sofas at the IKEA showroom in Dietlikon, I was immediately drawn to them. Their elegant, understated design appealed to me and I was happy to find that they are also very comfortable, and quite reasonably priced. With these sofas, IKEA has once more done what it does best—pared down a piece of furniture to its bare essentials. If you look underneath the sofas, you’ll see that they’re actually hollow! Even the cushions are partially hollow. It’s a clever design that saves material and reduces weight. For my purposes, they’re perfect. The “Rasken” bench is serving as a makeshift coffee table until I find one I like.
I want the style of my furniture to be modern, to balance the somewhat rustic feel given by the thick stone walls, arched doorways, and terra cotta tile. I think these sofas are a good start!
Packing the “last few things” took a lot longer than I expected. I’m glad I “finished packing” last night so that I had another evening to do all the things I didn’t think would take any time.
I still have a few odds and ends to toss into boxes or bags tomorrow; but I’m hoping that can be done on-the-fly. We shall see.
I’ll pick up the truck at Hertz around 9 tomorrow morning. My friends and I will begin loading the truck at 10, and I hope to be able to get most of it done within two hours. The ride to Wollishofen should take no more than 15 minutes; and then the job of unloading will begin.
I have guests staying over at my new place tomorrow night, so I hope I can at least find a few necessary items in the boxes during the afternoon.
OK, I gotta get some sleep or I’ll be dead in the morning. Over and out.
The fear mongers have always found a group of others, to stoke fears and control public opinion. It was not too many years ago that the average American would have been nervous upon meeting a black person on the street. If Mr. Williams is aware of the irony of his position, he has hidden it well.
In the upper radiograph, above, the damaged ligament would appear just above the joint in the center of the photograph. You cannot see it in this picture because soft tissues like muscles, tendons, and ligaments do not show up well in x-ray photos. This is a top-down view, so that ligament lies on the left side of my left index finger. I sustained this injury while working on a particularly difficult bouldering problem at Minimum, back in the beginning of August. It happened when I held a crimpy grip with my left hand and rolled the fingers counterclockwise to give myself a bit more reach to the right. With the weight bearing down sideways on my fingers, the collateral ligaments bore more than their usual share of the load.
Dr. Schweizer gave me some little strips to use to affix my index finger to my middle finger, limiting its mobility, and all but eliminating the possibility of oblique forces that might cause further damage to the ligament. Two months of rest are called for, along with daily exercises to maintain and restore the finger’s range of motion.
I may climb, but only if I completely avoid using my left index finger, or if I tape my index and middle fingers together tightly and avoid sideways loads. The prognosis a full recovery in time.
I have been living in a furnished apartment for the past two years, so the only piece of furniture I have here in Zürich is a bed. This means I’ll have to buy a lot more furniture before my new place will be livable. After a bit of searching online, I found a dining table that I quite like at mutoni.ch. It’s a large solid oak table in a very modern style. I still need to find chairs that match the table. In addition, I will need to get bookshelves, a couch & coffee table, a desk & office chair, a chest of drawers, a guest bed, and other several smaller pieces of furniture. I will also need to buy a bunch of lights and lamps; most apartments in Switzerland come without any lighting installed.
My new apartment is located in Wollishofen, in a part of the city of Zürich known as Kreis 2. It’s just north of Kilchberg, the neighboring town to the south. The IBM Research lab where I work is located just a bit further south, in Rüschlikon. So I will live about halfway between my workplace and the city. This means I’ll be able to stop by home after work, freshen up or grab a bite to eat, and then head into the city to meet friends. My new place is also just five minutes’ walk from the lake, ten minutes’ bike ride from Nordiska & Minimum, and about fifteen minutes from IBM by bus or bike.
|The view from my the street near my new home; my view is a bit less spectacular, but still pretty good!|
|The dining room|
|The living room, with the dining room and kitchen beyond|
The kitchen is tiny, but the dining room and living room are quite big, and have windows facing the lake. There is terra cotta tile throughout the apartment, with floor heating underneath. I’ll have morning sun coming in the window of my bedroom. The house includes a sauna, in the common area just outside my front door. The washer and dryer are also in this shared area, and there is also another shared bathroom there, as well as a bench for lying down and relaxing after a stint in the sauna. This relaxation room has a window and a door leading out into the garden. Big sauna fan that I am, I’m sure I will appreciate this perk—especially in the winter months.
|The living room as seen from the bedroom|
- The 32-bit version of the Odbcad32.exe file is located in the %systemdrive%\Windows\SysWoW64 folder.
- The 64-bit version of the Odbcad32.exe file is located in the %systemdrive%\Windows\System32 folder.
- 32-bit binaries go in System32
- 64-bit binaries go in System64
In the past, I have answered these emails with a donation; but not today. Below, in full, is my response to the president.
Dear President Obama:
My patience is running thin.
Many times in the past, I have been there when you or the Democratic party needed help, because I believed you would bring fundamental change to our government. However, several of your decisions have diminished my enthusiasm:
1. The bank bail-out helped Wall Street, but did almost nothing for the average American. By propping up the value of toxic assets, you perpetuated the lie of these assets’ outrageously overstated values, merely pushing the problem further down the road. It’s also theft. The government has taken trillions of dollars from future generations of Americans and used the money to prop up the net worth of a bunch of capricious thieves who gambled with other people’s money. Private gains & public losses—an old tune I’m getting tired of.
2. The financial reform measures put in place were watered down so much that they do almost nothing to prevent a repeat of the crisis. Banks will continue to gamble with investor’s money, and to lend out many times what they possess in liquid assets. This is a giveaway to banks, and promotes growth at the expense of stability. The new rules have the appearance of having been written by the banks. This does nothing to allay the impression that some on your financial team are serving their former employers first and the American people second.
3. By failing to put a moratorium on foreclosures, and failing to give judges the authority to adjust the terms of mortgages (reducing the principal and not just the interest), you have turned a blind eye to the plight of millions of families whose home values are now much lower than what they owe on the loans. For these families, it now makes more sense to walk away from their homes than to stay. Foreclosures also have the effect of blighting neighborhoods, further depressing home values and making the problem even harder to solve later.
4. You have not properly acknowledged the human causes of the tragedy in New Orleans. Each time you refer to Katrina as the cause, you repeat a lie. Improperly designed levees and flood-walls led to this catastrophe. It was not a natural disaster. Sure, it’s easier to lay the blame on mother nature than on human incompetence and bureaucratic obstinacy; but it’s wrong. Failure to admit the true causes of this tragedy is a great sin because we also risk a recurrence of the problem if the Army Corps of Engineers is not held responsible for their past mistakes. Even today, the Corps is the body entrusted with evaluating its own performance. This is like letting the fox guard the henhouse.
5. Lastly, I know you are facing problems that you didn’t anticipate. But instead of proposing solutions that had the scale necessary to deal with the problems (the stimulus packages, financial reform, and health care to name just three), you instead brought forth lame compromises and half-measures. Instead of using your bully pulpit to stand up for what's right and shame the opposition into silence, you gave even the most intransigent obstructionists a seat at the table, interminably delaying much needed reforms.
I am gratified to see that you have begun to publicly challenge the opposition to propose better (and workable) solutions. But I wonder if it's not too little, too late. I am also pleased to see that Summers is finally on his way out; on financial matters, you would do well to listen more to the likes of Paul Krugman in the future.
I cannot at present convince myself that a donation to the DCCC would be money well spent. I still have hope for the future. But if you want my financial support, you will have to earn it.
Michael A. LowryI know I am not the only one who feels this way. I hope the president gets the message.
I think the real motivation behind this is to [...] make what you can buy colourful and what you already own bland.He hit the nail on the head.
From Apple’s point of view, the iTunes/iOS ecosystem has reached a level of market penetration where the focus has shifted away from improving the app and moved more toward exploiting the app’s ubiquity to sell more content.
Since the introduction of the iTunes Music Store, Apple has made each release of iTunes more focused on directing users to stuff they can buy. Here’s just one example: If you click the little gray arrow to the right of an album name, you might expect iTunes to take you to that album in your own music library; but instead, it redirects you to the album in the iTunes Music Store.
Here’s another example: the Ringtones button reappears periodically in bottom row of icons in the iOS iTunes app, and the Podcasts icon disappears. The user can change this, replacing the Ringtones icon with the Podcasts icon; but after a while, it will change back again. Again, this has the effect of directing you toward stuff you can buy (ringtones) instead of stuff that’s free (podcasts).
And one last example: it is not possible to have iTunes save your password for free downloads only. If you want iTunes to save your password, simplifying the downloading of free apps, music tracks, and podcasts, then you must also have a valid credit card on file, and allow iTunes to save your password for purchases too.
Apple’s engineers are well aware that bland, colorless portions of the UI are less likely to capture and hold the interest and attention of the user. This is by design.
From recent updates to the iTunes app, we can infer the following design objectives:
1. Reduce the user interface to its spartan, utilitarian minimum, and focus the user’s attention on the content area of the window;
2. Lead the user quickly to purchasable or promotional content in the Store, and do this from as many places in the app as possible; and
3. Make it as easy as possible to purchase content.
I have long wondered when Apple would jump on the desaturation bandwagon. IBM boldly removed color from its UIs years ago. A directive was handed down that all user interfaces were to be harmonized—all across IBM Software Group. Professional graphic artists were brought in to do the meticulous and painstaking work of replacing confusingly colorful UIs with broad swaths of beautiful grayness (and subtle hints of blue). I am glad to see that Apple has finally chosen to embrace IBM’s proven leadership in user interface design.
Keep up the good work, Apple!
So a fax, which can easily be forged and can even been sent from a computer, is acceptable as proof that the request comes from me; but an authenticated email, sent via the bank’s own secure online banking system, is not.
This is insane.
I didn’t want to walk all the way back upstairs just to fetch my shorts—I planned to go running in these shorts later in the evening and didn’t want them to be wet. But I didn’t think waltzing down to the end of the dock and skinny-dipping in full view of the wedding guests was a good idea either. So for modesty’s sake, and so as not to disturb the wedding, I walked over to the shore by Seeclub Zürich, and tried to make a shallow dive into the water there. Unfortunately, I didn't get enough lateral momentum, and although my torso made it to the deep water, my legs dragged along the bottom. I felt the top of my left thigh being scraped by something sharp. It happened so fast, and I didn’t feel any pain. But when lake water began flowing into the wound, I realized immediately that I had received more than just a scratch. I walked out of the water to survey the damage. It was not a pretty sight. There was a twenty centimeter gash on the front of my thigh, running straight upward from just above the knee. As I walked up onto the lawn, the blood began to stream out of the wound, branching out into a tree-like pattern as it flowed down the front of my shin and onto my foot.
So then I had the task of walking back to Nordiska with blood running down my leg, covering up with my towel without getting it bloody, and again, without making a scene that would disturb the wedding guests. It was a bit ridiculous.
I tracked blood all through the boathouse as I made my way back upstairs. I located the first aid kit in the changing room and stopped the bleeding with a pressure dressing. The situation was stable at this point, but the wound was not going to stay closed by itself. I knew I’d need to get stitches if I wanted to avoid ending up with a large scar. I walked to Bürkliplatz and took the tram up the hill to Universitätsspital Zürich, where within half an hour I had submitted my paperwork, gotten a fresh tetanus vaccination, and had been wheeled on a gurney to an operating room, where I was getting sewn up by a nice Austrian nurse named Veronica. She was friendly, and seemed glad to have something to do. The hospital wasn’t very busy that day. While she worked, I chatted with her and asked questions about what she was doing. I also took two videos with my iPhone. After cleaning the wound, she injected the site with anesthetic. These injections were the only painful part of the procedure. Once the wound site had been numbed, I felt only pressure—no pain—for the remainder of the procedure.
Veronica told me she was from Vienna, and that she was here on a temporary internship. She said that she liked the hospital and the city very much, and planned to move here permanently. She was cute too, so after I was all patched up I told her I had enjoyed talking with her and wondered if she might want to keep in touch. The look on her face said it all: “Oh god. Must every man I patch up ask me for my number?” He demeanor changed in an instant. What had previously been a talkative and friendly person became an unresponsive automaton, just doing her job. Having previously told me that she was planning to move to Zürich, she declined sharing her contact information on the grounds that she was “going back to Vienna tomorrow.” Um, yeah. Just say no, okay? I imagined what she must have been thinking: “How nice. Here’s a gentleman—making nice conversation and not even hitting on m—nope, there, he did it. He hit on me.” I guess she hasn’t yet learned how to decline advances gracefully. These things take practice—and a fair amount of mental energy. Oh well. She did an excellent job with the sutures, and for a while at least, we had a nice chat. If I’d made a new friend, it would almost have been worth all the trouble!
I was in and out of the hospital in less than an hour. The whole process was remarkably efficient, and the experience made my visits to hospitals in Sweden and the U.S. seem poor and haphazard in hindsight. Of course the Swiss level of service comes at a cost—but luckily I won’t have to pay it out-of-pocket. The hospital visit will be covered by my IBM’s accident insurance. Companies in Switzerland must purchase accident insurance for all full-time employees.
After leaving the hospital, I returned to Nordiska to pick up my things. I fixed a pizza with the leftovers from lunch, and made my way back home. I had planned to go running with Malin, but obviously that wasn’t going to happen. I called her and explained the situation. “If you planned to go running anyway, then there was no point in getting stitches,” she said. OK! I resolved to take it easy and give my cut time to heal. My doctor friend Linda lives and works in my neighborhood. She met me at the tram stop and came by for a while to check up on me—it was very sweet of her indeed. The wound seems to be quite okay. It’s not painful, and in fact the thing I feel the most is the pulling of hairs by the bandage when I move my leg. The doc told me not to exercise using that leg for at least ten days.
My friend Nic had been kind enough to arrange a skiff rowing course for me and some others. A skiff is a one-person rowing boat, and learning to row a skiff requires special training. Since I began to row last year, I had looked forward to the summer when I would have the opportunity to learn to row a skiff. With that skill under my belt, I could row whenever I wanted to—even without a partner. The course was this morning, and obviously I wasn’t able to participate. When I told Nic last night that I wouldn’t make it (and explained why) she told me that it was one of the best excuses she had heard, but that she would want photographic proof of my injury. Hah! If I’m involved, there’s always photographic evidence to be found. Nic agreed to hold a second course for those who missed this one. Thanks, Nic—you’re an angel!
This was my first experience getting stitches. It was interesting and less of a big deal than I had expected. I have since learned that for some minor cuts that might otherwise require stitches, cyanoacrylate (super) glue often works in a pinch. I’ll have to remember to pack a tube of the stuff on my next backpacking trip.
What is clear is that at some point in the coming months, it will become necessary to pay a monthly fee to Skype if you want to use the iPhone version of Skype to make calls over the mobile phone network. Mind you, this fee does not cover calls to ordinary telephones or mobile phones; for that, you’ll have to pay additional fees. The monthly fee we’re talking about here is just for the privilege of using the Skype iPhone app to make calls—even Skype-to-Skype calls—over the 3G network.
Skype-to-Skype calls made from the iPhone app will continue to be free when made over WiFi networks. Presumably such calls will also be free when made from the Mac or Windows version of Skype.
What’s really interesting is the way Skype is hoping to earn money here. Skype is not really talking about charging for using the 3G network per se; instead, Skype is talking about charging for that subset of calls made from the Skype iPhone App. Many laptop users get their internet connectivity via the mobile telephone network, using a 3G USB dongle, or a built-in 3G transceiver in their laptop. In many places it’s also possible to connect your iPhone to your Mac or PC, enable tethering, and share the iPhone’s internet connection with your computer. In this way it is possible to make free Skype-to-Skype calls over the 3G network from the Skype application running on your computer. Skype is not talking about charging these Mac & PC users for ordinary Skype-to-Skype calls. However, the exact same calls made from the iPhone will soon require payment of a monthly fee.
Skype seems to be betting that users will gladly pay a fee for the convenience of calling from the iPhone version of the program.
Who must pay for Skype-to-Skype calls?
- Skype continues to work as today, warning the user but functioning normally;
- Skype simply refuses to run; or
- Skype runs but detects the presence of the hack, and does not make calls without payment.
This afternoon I went to Nordiska to tidy up a bit after last night’s fun barbecue. It was rainy and cool out—the rain muffling the noise of an already subdued city. After cleaning, I fixed a bratwurst for lunch, and ate it on the balcony while watching the few sailboats braving the rainy weather on the lake. Then I relaxed a while in the sauna and took a quick dip in the lake. After climbing back out of the water and onto the dock, I stood for a while in the cool rain, just staring out over the water.
I snapped this photo on the walk to the boathouse, in the Arboretum park beside the lake beside the lake.