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July 31, 2005

ICE, just in case....

If you haven't seen this yet, check it out. Add an entry to your mobile's directory, called “ICE”, so that, well, In Case of Emergency, a professional can quickly know how to reach those that you'd like to know.

(via Steve's Tech Journal, and, indirectly, my brother)

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July 30, 2005

Links from dinner...

First of all, here's the absurd super hero show from the 80s.

Then, there's the SB E-mail as background information for the SB E-mail that Joy quoted.

Update: Oh, right, the color perception demo I mentioned.

That is all.

July 28, 2005

Piaggio > eGO day

I'm sure you're all getting tired of my Piaggio vs. eGO rants, but, hey, what can I say?

In 4 1/2 months, I've ridden the Piaggio the same number of miles the eGO ever made it to (~1800). Yes, it pollutes more. Yes, I have to get gas. On the other hand, it's never been broken down; service, what little there's been, is taken care of by a local, friendly (if not cheap...) dealer. The range is sufficient that I can use it for a much greater percentage of my regular travel: two-person trips, heavy cargo, and great distance are the only times when I need to switch back to the car... part of the reason the Typhoon has gotten so many miles on it in such a (relatively) short period of time.

And, though savings in gas doesn't pay off the bike per se, my tracking of mileage suggests that I've saved over $100 on gas in those 4 months vs. driving my car. Of course, as with the eGO, riding around on a scooter is a much more enjoyable activity most of the time, especially in the beautiful, dry summer months of northern California.

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July 22, 2005

Server move coming....

All of the public-facing geekdom.net services, including movabletypo.net, will be moving soon. Final schedule to be announced, the inconvenience should be fairly minimal for most folks.

However, some of you have control of your own DNS, and this makes the transition a bit more tricky. Could you guys please drop me a line, via bphosting17@geekdom.net or another regular channel? I'd like to make this move happen soon, as it drops my costs significantly, but I don't want to leave anyone without service.

More details on the schedule and when/if there will be downtime coming in a day or two.

July 14, 2005

Carbon neutral?

I ran across this Wired Article on a new business venture that lets common consumers buy their carbon back. What caught my eye was the interesting note: every gallon of gas burned results in 20lbs. of carbon dioxide added to the air.

At first, this struck me as impossible, since I went and looked up the weight of 1 gallon of gasoline: 8.66lbs. Then Joy reminded me of my chemistry, and that the rest of the weight comes from the Oxygen that binds in. So, you take a fairly simple hydrocarbon chain, and you replace the hydrogens (molecular weight ~1) with Oxygens (molecular weight ~16). Heptane (see the hydrocarbon link, with 16 Hydrogens to 7 carbons, burned ideally produces 7 CO2 molecules. So, it's not too hard to see how such a great weight of CO2 gets released. Fortunately, there's a lot of air out there, but not so much that we aren't still increasing carbon in the air.

The market model for dealing with this is an interesting one. I'm probably going to buy a TerraPass or two, to buy back my carbon, effectively making me “carbon neutral”, and, in effect, fund development of carbon-reducing technologies. Ironically, because of my scooter, I drive my car in the range that they sell a “Hybrid” pass for, even though my 2001 sedan only gets about 26 mpg. Frankly, between how little I drive my car, and the better mileage of my scooter, and living in an area that generally doesn't need much heating and cooling, my carbon footprint is probably pretty good compared to many in the US... but still pathetic. More on this as I can figure out real numbers for it.

I like the concept of pounds of carbon dioxide... mostly because, yes, it sounds a lot worse than it (directly, at least) is. You can play games all day, but it's still interesting to think how my commute puts an average of about 5 lbs. of CO2 in the atmosphere each day. If I did the same commute in an SUV, it'd be more like 20lbs.

More thinking on this needs to be done, though. On the TerraBlog, one of the posts observes how much power is generated by humans, say, on a bike race. Unfortunately, even that isn't a fair comparison - how much more CO2 are those bikers breathing out than they would be if they weren't producing the excess work? What's the ratio of human CO2/mile vs. the CO2/mile of my scooter (~0.37lb/mile) vs. that of a SUV (~1.5lb/mile)?

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July 08, 2005

A fairly patriotic triffle for Independence Day

Here's a little treat we made for the 4th.

July 07, 2005

The new kid on the block: Gizmo Project

I'll say it, Gizmo could be a Skype killer. It's fairly slick, and works fairly well. I've played it for a few hours, and here are a quick summary of my reactions:

Good:

  • Easy config/easy out of box experience (Install it, run it, sign in, and it should just work)
  • SIP support (though kludgy, at least there's interop of some sort)
  • Mac support (day 1)
  • Fairly slick UI (emphasis on the right stuff)
  • Improve the VoIP world: call subjects (no one else besides Skype has really been pushing for new features, just doing replacement)
  • Easy call recording
  • Seems to even handle the antagonistic corporate firewall scenario. It is the first app besides to pull that off for my situation.

Bad:

  • Can't make SIP-address buddies (yet, supposedly this is just a bug)
  • Even if you dial SIP, it doesn't record it in the history correctly (all addresses get normalized into the "gizmo" space, most of them incorrectly)
  • Not smart enough to just go ahead and reconnect after a Mac sleep event.
  • Hokey "call destinations" map... often wrong, especially for SIP calls.
  • Crashed several times during testing, sometimes appearing to make calls that it was unable to. It's still beta, but it didn't have any error reporting/detection in these cases, which is worrisome.
  • DTMF support questionable - tried setting asterisk' SIP dtmf support to both "info" and "rfc2833" in calls to my own asterisk server, neither worked. At this point, my IVR menus on my own asterisk aren't going to cut it.

All in all, it's looking like a decent tool. Since it supports SIP in a fairly useful way, I can, for instance, add it to my simultaneous-ring setup for all of my home VoIP stuff.... now, my home phone really can ring anywhere, cell, wifi, or otherwise. That's cool.

Hopefully, they'll publish their new workarounds to NAT/firewall traversal, so that it'll be possible to expand this support directly into more SIP hardware. STUN clearly isn't enough as it stands.

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