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Monthly Archives: September 2006

Sorry about the lack of posts – I’m working on that. I’m jacking a neighbors connection and it seems to have 1000 or more ms latency to the USA. Contribute doesn’t seem to like latency.

My parents connection via Telewest is really quite quick, however my laptop doesn’t seem to want to work on it at all…

I plan to post more pictures time and connection willing :).

I keep worrying about everything back home and at work. I didn’t set my away message apparently – when I called the switch from here it won’t take my access code… DTFM codes must be off somehow – I’ll try again tommorow. UK phones are pretty odd… Not that I get many external calls – but I’m sure I’ll hear about it.

Made it safely to Scotland 🙂 – weather was really nice on Friday and Saturday and my parents took me to Rosslyn Chapel on Friday. We also went to Temple where the knights of Templar are from. Its also where a very distant relative John Craig was buried. On Saturday we went into the highlands of Scotland to look for standing stones and stone circles. We also visited the Scottish Cronag Centre. Cronags are wooden hut like structures that site out on a lake (or a loch) inhabited by the Celtics prior to their conversion to Christianity. Apparently archaeologists are finding more and more artifacts of these people. The stones pictured below are dated between 500-800 AD and created by Picts after they were introduced to Christianity. Dogton stone circle is dated around 800 AD.

This is the Apprentices Column in Rosslyn Chapel. Apparently the apprentice outdid the master who killed him. This was the only column he carved and is unique. Rosslyn Chapel is probably most famous for the movie “The Da vinci Code”.

Temple Chapel It was rebuilt across the street, however it belongs to a rock star now…(which/who? I can’t remember).

Town of Temple – home to the Knights Templar.

Borthwick Castle. This is pretty cool for 200£ you can stay the night there. It has 6′ walls and has been well maintained.

Chrichton Castle – looks really desolate and you have to walk up this dirt road about a mile to get to it, but there’s a gift shop inside…There was a really friendly little dog who wanted to play ball.

Dogton Stone in Fife. Its sitting out in the middle of a freshly plowed field (we got permission to walk out there).

Replica of a Cranog at the Scottish Cranog Centre on Loch Tay. Behind me was what was left of a Cranog that Queen Elizabeth had a picnic at on her honeymoon. It looks like an island, but its mostly small rocks and cranog parts/remains. I have a picture of it, and it will be uploaded to my gallery.

Church in Kenmore next to Loch Tay.

Croft moraig stone circle – it’s sitting in a farmers field – we didn’t go in because of all the ram’s wandering about.

Tayside Bridge covering Tayside Creek. It was built for Wade’s Military Road in 1736 to subdue the highlanders by making it easier to carry equipment into the Scottish Highlands. Its a single lane bridge still used by traffic today.

Dunnfallandy standing stone – dated 550-850 AD carved by the Picts. Its actually in a glass case on the top of a field next to a farm.

Mom and Dad – thanks for driving me out there. Consequently this building is next door to Rosslyn Chapel. A lot of famous people stayed there (I have a list somewhere).

Bye for now. I have tons of pictures actually and I’ll put them all on the gallery when I get time.

To explain the the Chou Maid Super clip below you probably should read this article > “‘Maid in Japan’ cafes treat geeks like lords” and on Wikipedia > Made Cafe. Hopefully its not so bizzare anymore :).

 

I’m writing this from Newark New Jersey. I’ve been sitting here for a couple hours waiting for the flight to leave. Its pretty dull, but luckily I brought a book to read. Plus I found I can use my iPass account to get net access in the terminal here. I knew that thing would come in handy eventually.

 

I tried to wrap-up all lose ends before I left, but like everything I do I forgot a few things. Hopefully my co-workers can forgive me :).

 

Spotted this on the weekend > backdooring PDF files. One thing I noticed is that most of these are folder level javascripts and not document level. Folder level would be that you’d have to compromise the machine before Acrobat could be compromised.

 

The other thing I noticed was that people are reporting that Xpdf and Foxit Reader don’t have these issues. Of course they don’t – they don’t support Javascript…

 

Also the notion that you can open a webpage from Acrobat/Reader is nothing new – plus it does warn you before it does open a web page (7 does at least).

This is pretty fun 🙂 – or maybe scary. From Chou Maid Super S – homepage. Original Youtube link > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gswvShcL4wg

I’ve had this tooth ache for a while – probably a result of a filling that came out a while back when I was working at Stream.

Anyhow it seems the tooth is infected. So I got a root canal. Its not too bad really, but it took 4 hours to do. Apparently I have curvy roots. If I can get a copy of the X-ray I’ll post a picture.

I have a confession to make. I have a tendency to be interested in various things throughout my life. Amateur radio, anime, stereos (yes – stereo components!), cars, and motorcycles. Some of these things have taken a back burner – for instance I really haven’t been interested in what kind of stereo components I have in a long time. And while I like anime, believe it or not I don’t watch it every waking moment of my life. In fact I haven’t seen a Japanese cartoon in months. I still carry a 2 way radio in my car, and sometimes use it to contact people in remote parts of the world, but not nearly as much as I used to. Motorcycles are my latest fad.

Why motorcycles? I dunno really. I’ve read comic books like Ah My Goddess, in which a lot of the characters ride bikes. Belldandy even works at a motorcycle shop called “Whirlwind” who’s boss rides sportbikes (racing bikes) for fun. I’ve seen the Ghostrider films, and while I’d never even remotely consider riding like that since I value both my life, freedom and drivers license (Ghostrider does crazy things like ride from Stockholm to Upsala in 15 minutes in rush hour traffic where its normally an hour long trip in good traffic… with the cops on his tail). It looks like a fun thing to do so I signed up for the class.

Fact is – its a lot harder than it looks. Its like learning how to drive a stick shift car again, except it requires balance, coordination, shifting weight, counter-steering and great precision. For one thing – when your riding a bike and you steer around a corner than you lean into a corner and then get your bicycle back upright is something really amazing. Don’t try to think about it too hard, there are lengthy physics papers on how and why this happens. On a motorcycle you have to be able to do that a great speed. Thinking about it too much will mess you up big time. First thing you really need to do to be a good rider is to stop thinking about the physics of what your doing, let go of the brakes and listen to the instructor.

One of the first things they did in class was introduce everyone. Of note there were a self proclaimed lesbian couple, a really nice guy who had been riding Harley’s for quite a while and wanted to get legal, and a girl who was convinced by her former boyfriend to do this class. They all passed as far as I know. The second thing they wanted to know was who had clutch experience. I immediately thought I had an edge on everyone since I’m pretty good at driving my manual car. In fact my sister in law remarked “oh! is this car is a manual?” after driving around for quite a while. That’s the best comment you can ever get as a driver of a car with a clutch. I have my moments, but overall I’m a smooth operator and I can pretty much drive any speed you want at any rpm.

So my ego rose. When we got to the riding range – which is disused parking lot out at the Boeing space center (which I think is a space communications office – there were transmission dishes all over the place). They gave me a 200cc Suzuki “dual sport” bike with something like 240 miles on it. Dual sport bikes are dirt bikes with street legal equipment on them. They operate and handle like a regular motorbike. I actually ended up liking it better than what they gave most people as it was considerably more agile than the poor Honda Rebel’s most were using. I wouldn’t really mind riding this bike as my main ride except it was lacking certian features I think I want like a fuel guage, tachometer, and an accurate speedometer.

Finding neutral, getting into gear, and making the bike move actually proved easy. Shifting into second gear was a challenge at first because my boots didn’t fit under the gear peg, but the instructor showed me out to tap it with the edge of my foot which was much easier. Getting the bike to do all this while corning, adjusting the clutch etc proved extremely hard however. So hard in fact after the first day I didn’t really want to go back.

Still I really wanted to learn how to ride a motorcycle. That night I thought about the instructors words and decided to head her advice as best I could to the letter, let go of what I “know” and trust the bike. Things got much better after that. I was speeding through corners, I wasn’t being chastised about my technique so much anymore and my skill was growing – I could tell really quickly. In short it became much easier.

Then they brought out “the box”. You have to make a slow speed u-turn, on one end and then cross over to the other end and do another u-turn then exit with speed and do a swerve maneuver – which I was really good at. Its about the size of two parking lot spaces. This exercise is actually hard on a regular bicycle. You cannot touch the ground or go outside the lines. The instructor even admitted it took her 6 times to do it when the MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) introduced it into the list of exercises and she’s a seasoned rider. I got a total of 5 times to try it, 6 if you include the test itself. Its one of the few parts of the riding exam that required real skill – I mean amazing clutch and throttle control. I wasn’t perfect, I went outside the box. Frankly I wasn’t that good at slow clutch control.

One big thing I learned while doing the corning exercises is that you really can’t do “late breaking” in a motorcycle – otherwise you might end up on the road or worse. Late breaking is where you realize you went into a corner way to fast and hit the breaks to bleed off speed. You see cars do this all the time on exit and interchange ramps. Instead the best strategy to get around a corner is to slow to the speed you think its safe to handle during the entry and roll-on through the corner (rolling on is just applying the throttle through the corner).

So the big question… Did I pass? I did in fact :). I’m perfectly legal to ride a motorcycle in the State of Washington. And because I took the class I get all the discounts I’m entitled to when/if I get insurance for my bike (which I don’t have).

motorcycle_haiku_01_rz_grey.gif

I spent a bunch of time today reproducing a bug in FrameMaker 7. In the end I reproduced the output the customer was getting, However it brings up more questions than it answers.

Its a strange issue where when you export a PDF file from FrameMaker text is missing from the output.

On my test system the only way I could trigger the problem was to pull the fntcache.dat file and reboot twice. The awful thing is now that I can reproduce the issue I can’t make the problem go away in my case without pulling all the type 1 fonts off my computer. These fonts caused no issues however until I removed the fntcache.dat file.

Strange ehh?

This sad story about a woman being kidnapped in Austria ends with a strange twist > http://www.guardian.co.uk/austria/article/0,,1865500,00.html – apparently the kidnapper himself used a Commodore 64 exclusively and forensics experts have no clue how to get the data in a format they can use.

 

I was thinking if this was a more common scenario I could become an expert computer crimes investigator – since I used one for close to 10 years.

Found this on Danbooru I think it would look good on a t-shirt: