April 30, 2006

March To The Bottom

Yet another regulator under the Bush Administration finds himself in criminal court - and this time, it arises during a civil case over the FDA's delaying of approval for a morning-after contraceptive.

I'm so unsurprised I could cry.

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April 28, 2006

Rapt raptor rapaciousness

I (and friends at work) have become addicted to the live video feed (RealMedia, yuck) of a family of Red-tailed Hawks at MIT. Mom, Dad, two li'l ones, plenty of dead pigeons for lunch.


Seriously, though. I have an entire desktop of my four GNOME desktops devoted to this feed, which at 450K/sec can fill it up nicely. I keep wanting to scritch 'em on the head.

I once spent a summer volunteering at the Cornell University Raptor Research Laboratory, which at the time was in Ithaca NY on Sapsucker Woods Road (it has since relocated to the wide open spaces of Idaho). In between the hearty physical labor of mucking out an entire converted dairy barn worth of gravel-bottomed cages, I was privileged to be introduced to the world of falcons and hawks by a couple of the men who cared for them - and it was an incredible experience. Gyrfalcons, Peregrines, Red-tails, even an enormous Bateleur Eagle vulture from South America. Kestrels, Owls, and more in the rescue clinic. These are beautiful, deadly and somehow pure of form and function creatures. They're not that bright, but that's okay - they're not meant to be. They're streamlined in both shape and deed.

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April 27, 2006

Books from Days Long Past

Surfing about on E2 spat up a title I'd long forgotten: Sideways Stories from Wayside School. Haven't even thought about that book since elementary school, and BAM it's all back. Then I remembered Seder, when I got hung up on a faint memory of a character in a children's book who took off his feet and put on a new pair - but that's all I could remember. Five hours of annoying everyone else there (who couldn't remember what I was talking about) I had had enough Scotch that I was sitting on a sofa and ping OH YEAH! Mouse Tales!

Now I want to go pick up my nephews from nursery school and poke around the library.

I swear Jhonen Vasquez read Sideways Stories...the Skool from Invader ZIM is sooo much like it...

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April 26, 2006

Remember when MTV kicked ass?

It was before this video's time, but this was a throwback, because this video does kick ass. Ah, good Bowie. There's nothing like it.

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April 25, 2006

Remember, gulags are for other people.

Then read this. Then decide for yourself.

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April 21, 2006

Spin Spin Sugar

Remember when people were just furious about 'leaks' in general? Ah, those were the good ol' days. Then we find out we have a Leaker-In-Chief, and suddenly...oh dear me, speciation of leaks. To wit, count the number of times the careful placement of the descriptor illegal appears in the following rant from a Michigan Republican from TIME's website, concerning the recent firing of a CIA employee found to have disclosed information about 'extraordinary rendition' flights:
A spokesman for House intelligence committee chairman Peter Hoekstra applauded the break branding the former employee's unauthorized disclosure an illegal leak and calling for its prosecution. Jamal Ware said Hoekstra, a Michigan Republican, "applauds the diligent and hard work done by the CIA to identify this person who took it upon themselves to illegally leak our nation's secrets. Chairman Hoekstra is fully supportive of any and all efforts to prosecute this person and anyone else who illegally discloses our national secrets." Ware called the rare identification of a leaker "a solid victory in the effort to halt illegal leaks."
Note: This isn't just a 'leak.' It's an illegal leak. This person must be hunted down. This is different from what the President did, of course. For one thing, it's different because the President said it's different, and what he says, goes; for another, this person leaked information about a practice that is deeply unsettling to the principles on which this nation purports to be founded, whereas the President directed the disclosure of apparently known false information in order to discredit an opposing point of view.


Note: I'm not saying the CIA employee should get a pass. They did, indeed, sign a form saying they wouldn't do this. They did it in full knowledge of the penalties that applied, and those penalties are appropriately levied here. I'm just saying that it's fascinating how quickly certain parties are trying so very hard to distinguish this from a much, much weaker case in which no penalties whatsoever are even being discussed.

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Hold the phone! Job performance is a firing criterion?

And trash talk when writing an adult-themed sitcom isn't sexual harassment? The courts ruled this? Oh, it's L.A. Whew. I thought sanity was breaking out all over.

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April 20, 2006

The Worst President in History?

Sean Wilentz writes crisply and cuttingly in Rolling Stone. One of my favorite passages, which invokes in me the fury I feel when GOP talking-points-parrots start bleating about the corruption of Clinton Democrats, is the following:
A total of twenty-nine Reagan officials, including White House national security adviser Robert McFarlane and deputy chief of staff Michael Deaver, were convicted on charges stemming from the Iran-Contra affair, illegal lobbying and a looting scandal inside the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Three Cabinet officers -- HUD Secretary Samuel Pierce, Attorney General Edwin Meese and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger -- left their posts under clouds of scandal. In contrast, not a single official in the Clinton administration was even indicted over his or her White House duties, despite repeated high-profile investigations and a successful, highly partisan impeachment drive.

The full report, of course, has yet to come on the Bush administration. Because Bush, unlike Reagan or Clinton, enjoys a fiercely partisan and loyal majority in Congress, his administration has been spared scrutiny. Yet that mighty advantage has not prevented the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, on charges stemming from an alleged major security breach in the Valerie Plame matter. (The last White House official of comparable standing to be indicted while still in office was Grant's personal secretary, in 1875.) It has not headed off the unprecedented scandal involving Larry Franklin, a high-ranking Defense Department official, who has pleaded guilty to divulging classified information to a foreign power while working at the Pentagon -- a crime against national security. It has not forestalled the arrest and indictment of Bush's top federal procurement official, David Safavian, and the continuing investigations into Safavian's intrigues with the disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, recently sentenced to nearly six years in prison -- investigations in which some prominent Republicans, including former Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed (and current GOP aspirant for lieutenant governor of Georgia) have already been implicated, and could well produce the largest congressional corruption scandal in American history. It has not dispelled the cloud of possible indictment that hangs over others of Bush's closest advisers.

I can't begin to even explain what this does to my blood pressure. This is a blog; it's not a scholarly paper. I have a milk crate here to stand on, from whence to vent spleen. I realize that this makes me not someone worth reading, really, for reasoned argument; not someone worth linking for facts or value-laden posts or propositions. It wars with my desire to actually serve my nation and its polity by being someone who can and does produce analytic information for the betterment of policy and people - both because what I produce here is tainted by my own anger, and because what I produce here most likely taints me, as a person, in the eyes of those who I might one day stand before and ask to trust in my motives.

All I can say is that the anger is not because I'm a Democrat thwarted. It's not because I'm a Liberal smelling blood. In point of fact, the anger is due to one simple piece of my makeup. I'm an American citizen. I am a multiracial, minority in ethnicity and beliefs citizen of the U.S. who believes firmly that the Constitution of the United States of America, and the vast majority of the people who inhabit the United States of America (and, indeed, the world in which it lives) are in the main a good and decent creation. I want things to get better. I want my children, and everyone's children, happy, well-fed, healthy and safe; I want the planet prosperous and peaceful. I want us reaching for the stars as a species.

I'm not naive enough to think this will magically happen.

However, I'm romantic enough that when I see policies and behaviors that, in my opinion, and in my analysis, throw away what small poor resources and chances we do have on this world for that to occur - when I see those chances and those resources thrown in the dirt, or stashed in a miser's pocket, and I see the Nation I do actually love led into a path of twisted behavior worthy more of its historical enemies than of the code it claims to aspire to reach in its own precious documents - then comes the anger. Then comes the fury. Then comes the frustration.

The current administration is a source, day by day, of that frustration. The Congress, in many ways, through active and passive failures, is a source of that frustration, on both sides of the aisle. The system is not; I believe the system itself can, when inhabited and pushed by men and women of vision and character, be a force for good and progress. But those currently in power are not they.

While this may doom whatever chances I have of ever working within that system, for whatever leaders and administrations, so be it. I can only say what I believe, for not doing so is a crime of silence. Not a large one, in my case, to be sure - I don't affect much. I don't influence much. But I would know. Even if I were to be working for the current government (which of course I'm not) I would be able to give it my all, if I would be working to serve the United States of America. Accurate (or at least, dedicated) analysis and monitoring are needed no matter who makes the decisions and what they are; and that's the only kind of thing I could ever see myself doing for the government anyway (at least, that's the only thing I could ever imagine the government wanting out of me other than taxes).

It's hard. I love this place. I know deep in my heart that I'm not a demographically representative American - but my voice should count as much as any other. That's what the system purports to say. However there appears to be a complete lack of accountability in Washington - indeed, the entire concept of failure appears to be gone. 'Failure' is something that occurs, to George Bush, in 'geologic time' - something that will only be an issue when he's dead and the historians can argue about it.

He's wrong. Failure is something that needs to be considered and addressed when it occurs, with an eye towards preventing it from happening again. A presidency is not a single event. It is a myriad of decisions. A president who is unable, during a debate, to come up with a single mistake he's made in his first term, however small - even for a joke! - is one too dangerous to be allowed to make decisions for this country. If there is no concept of failure, there is no concept of anyone (especially him) paying the consequences for a failure. If that's the case, then how can he be trusted to make decisions that affect the entire planet, much less the polity of the United States? A man who brushes off the notion that he might make a mistake as 'irrelevant' is a man unable to even recognize the path leading into error - and this particular man apparently is the one exploring 'all options' for dealing with other nations, including those involving nuclear weapons.

Does this make you feel safe?

Posted by jbz at 11:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Risk or Protection?

The Beeb is running an article on the state of wildlife in the contaminated zone around Chernobyl. Apparently, with the exception of species that do not peregrinate and remain within local hotspots, most local fauna are flourishing, in the sense of reproducing and increasing their population above what was possible when humans shared the land. While there are mutations in DNA, it seems that cancer-like symptoms are rarely found - one scientist notes that most creatures (like mice, say) that are studied for such have lifespans shorter than the expected time for such syndromes to appear in the wild, but due to predators and mishap rather than illness.

Anyway, a provocative idea...one point that is made, in an off-the-cuff manner, is that perhaps one way to preserve areas for wildlife would be to store radioactive waste in them. As one 'radioecologist' notes re: the Chernobyl experience, most species there don't seem to care much at all. While many animals are too radioactive to be domesticated for human productive use, this doesn't appear to be affecting their lifespans or life experience much. Furthermore, deep-vaulted waste storage would (hopefully) not actually contaminate the area, but would certainly make it undesirable and impractical for actual development.

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Think you're a Lego architect?

Think again. Be sure to check out Evolution: 2005.

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No, not those turtles, THIS turtle!!!


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April 19, 2006

The Purple Party

Where do I sign up?

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The Silencing of Dissent in the Name of Patriotism

This is really beyond the fucking pale. It is perhaps the most egregious example of mealy-mouthed, condescending, authoritarian arm-twisting I think I've seen yet out of the crew of useless bastards presently attempting to defend the policies and practices of the Adminstration's Iraq policy - and that takes effort.

Let me see if I can get their point straight. What these quisling bastards would have you, as an American, believe, is that the military officers who have faithfully executed their duty by not publicly criticizing the Secretary of Defense while still in the military are in fact skirting treason (aid and comfort to the enemy) by speaking up now. That, in fact, they had every chance in the world to 'make a difference' while they served, and that they likely could not see the 'big picture' while there. And that indeed, by speaking up now, by fomenting what even these commenting sockpuppets are forced to admit is 'reasoned public debate,' they are somehow detracting from our national security.

That's not just self-contradictory, it's damn near close to treason itself.

I offer the following quotes, directly from their editorial.

The retired officers who have criticized Rumsfeld have served their country with distinction. The military -- active duty and retired -- has a wealth of intelligent, articulate and motivated people. Their sense of duty, integrity and patriotism are of the highest order. But each of them speaks from his own copse of trees and may not have a view of the larger forest. In criticizing those with the broader view, they should be mindful of the risks and responsibilities inherent in their acts. The average U.S. citizen has high respect for the U.S. military. That respect is a valuable national security asset. Criticism, when carried too far, risks eroding it.
In other words, apparently, a military that's busy losing a war because of idiotic policy set by its civilian oversight - which is the point of these general officers - and yet keeps its mouth shut is somehow more respectable and honorable than one which takes its orders as is its job but whose members, when they are able to do so by law and tradition, offer their objections based on reason and experience. Oh, yeah, that makes a load of sense.
We do not advocate a silencing of debate on the war in Iraq. But care must be taken by those experienced officers who had their chance to speak up while on active duty. In speaking out now, they may think they are doing a service by adding to the reasoned debate. But the enemy does not understand or appreciate reasoned public debate. It is perceived as a sign of weakness and lack of resolve.
We don't want you to shut up. But shut up. Because if you don't shut up, you're helping the enemy, and besides, why didn't you say all this when you were on the job? Answer: they didn't say all this when on the job because they respect civilian control of the military much more than you do, apparently. Furthermore, they understand, as you do not, that the much larger threat to the United States' national security at the moment is the damage the administration's policy is doing to the military and the US's position - not whatever 'The Enemy' whoever he or she may be may draw from a 'reasoned public debate' in our media over our policies, which is what we're supposed to have no matter what the situation. That's why our system is stronger.

My God. If ever a case could be made for treason, this is fucking it. Crush reasoned dissent and examination of mistakes. Refuse to acknowledge the possibility of mistakes. Deny that the process which is not visible to the public is flawed, and attack those who obey every tenet, legal and traditional, while pushing for change.

You fuckers are going to be first up against the fucking wall. I promise you that. It's instructive that Mr. Laird was SecDef during the Vietnam War. Apparently he hasn't learned a damn thing.

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April 17, 2006

The Rumsfeld Rumblings

One of the more underhanded and weaselly characteristics of the White House's "defense" of Donald Rumsfeld is that it seems to be placing great emphasis on variations of the point illustrated by the following quote:
Retired Gen. Richard Myers, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the retired generals' criticism is "inappropriate, because it's not the military that judges our civilian bosses."
Um, hello? Yes, indeed, Gen. Myers. That's true. This is why these general officers are speaking out only after leaving the military. The military is not judging the civilian leadership. Civilians, with military experience - and most importantly, on the ground experience with the war in question - are judging the civilian leadership. I would argue that this is a magnificent example of the strength of the civilian control of our military, and the solidity of the United States' Constitutional system. Criticisms of civilian decisionmaking that are, in the opinion of those making the criticisms, causing grave damage not only to the military as an organization but to the nation as a whole, are being stifled until the critics are no longer in positions of military authority. This is what is supposed to happen.

For the 'defenders' of Secretary Rumsfeld to somehow attempt to 'spin' this fact into an attack on the credibility or character of the criticisms, or worse yet those making them, is beyond despicable; it itself attacks the very nature of the system which they purport to defend.

Of course, that's par for the course with the current administration.

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April 15, 2006

We are not worthy.

Are we not men? Where have the certifiably crazy motherfuckers gone? Jalopnik thinks they've found one willing to take up the legacy and banish the 'long cold Carter winter.' Rock right on.

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April 14, 2006

Divine Strake, Bunker Busters, and the Jackhammer Buff

So the Hot New Argument is of course whether or not the U.S. is actually seriously considering using nuclear penetrators to go after the Iranian nuclear (enrichment?) facility at Natanz. Arguments over how much cover (twenty meters? Seventy-five meters? Measured from the floor? The ceiling?) and over what type of cover (bored? Cut and cover? Rock? Shale? Soil and broken rock?) are the rage. An enormous conventional explosion test named Divine Strake is planned for this summer at the Nevada Test Site. This has gotten many panties in twists about the legality, morality, and desirability of the U.S. pursing nuclear earth-penetrating weaponry - either the development, testing, deployment or use thereof.

Which begs the question, what else do you use?

One method which has been mentioned several times is the 'multiple bomb' technique. This has much to recommend it, in my opinion. Unlike 'global thermonuclear war' scenarios, where the use of nuc penetrators might in fact be a relatively scaled response, when going up against a developing nuclear power I am firmly in the 'this is a bad, bad, BAD idea' camp. While it's true that 'carpet bombing' is not likely to be very effective, recent technologcal developments offer an alternative.

I'm not talking about smart bombs per se. Those are seeking weapons, and there will be no designator signal available for them to home on - even if there was, it would be a near-impossible task to hold such a designator on a spot steady enough to produce the 'multiple strike excavation' required. Furthermore, scene-matching or target-recognition will be complicated by the fact that after the first bomb hits, the scene will of course be unpredictably (and dramatically) changed - at least enough to deny subsequent targeting systems accurate enough fixes.

However, competent munitions - in other words, navigating weapons - would be just the ticket. Typical U.S. gravity bombs can be coupled with a navigating tailkit and tail-mounted fuze for cratering use; the bomb itself costs approximately $4,200.00 and the guidance/fusing units in the low tens of thousands. While a 2,000 lb. bomb does not produce a very deep crater - feet, perhaps - the use of DGPS guided tailkits could quite possibly drop successive bombs within a quite small CEP - probably well within the crater size. Given that the U.S. has plenty of time to go about this, what's to stop us simply hammering away at the same spot with these weapons?

There are many advantages. Collateral damage is hugely minimized compared to the ridiculous use of a high energy weapon. No matter what the politicians tell you, this is a nuclear weapon. This will not be like an 'underground nuclear test' where the device is placed carefully in a hole drilled several hundred feet into the earth, then sealed in, and detonated. No matter what, there is a chance of weapon failure; of the breach of the physics package at the surface or above it; of insufficient penetration and detonation in atmosphere. Think about that for a moment. Even if everything works except for the fact that it doesn't quite go that deep - and remember, they're trying to find it if it will reach seventy five feet, when test site tunnels are much, much deeper than that - then you have an atomic detonation. In the atmosphere. On a foreign sovereign nation.

The United States has just used atomic weapons on someone's country.

We haven't 'destroyed a nuclear facility using a contained explosion.' We haven't 'prevented another country from irresponsibly gaining nuclear weapons.' We have attacked another nation with atomic weapons.

Back to the point. The Gravity Bomb Tapdance method is much, much cheaper. At $4,200 per bomb unit and let's say $50,000 per navigation kit, even if you decided to throw a hundred bombs at the target, you're still only in $5,420,000. I'm not sure what a B61 warhead costs, but I know it probably has on the order of six to eight kilograms of Pu-239 in it. You do the math. A Tomahawk strike? The newest, cheapest Tomahawk cruise missiles (which don't penetrate the ground) cost around $750,000 each.

You could minimize the number of sorties required to produce this effect, as well. A B-52H Stratofortress, which can drop the Mk.84 LDGP bomb, can carry 45 of them using the HSAB wing mounts as well as internal load. So two B-52 missions could drop 90 weapons. One design study I would love to see is if there is enough excess energy in the profile of a Mk. 84 to allow the attachment of retarding kits and ballutes to the rear of some of the weapons in the loadout, and then to simply drop the entire stick and have the navigation systems fly varying arcs so as to produce staggered 'time on target' arrivals. If the first weapons released went for maximum glide, and the later ones went for maximum retard, then dropped the retarders while still at altitude in order to gain velocity, it might be possible?

Anyway. Ideally, you would be able to just upload a target coordinate to all the weapons in a BUFF loadout at once, and then simply pickle the entire load. Weapons would arrive in quick succession. For maximum cratering effect, in addition to tail-mounting the fuzes, some basic case hardening work might be done on the bombs themselves; perhaps strengthen the noses. After all, the British built purely gravity bombs in World War Two (the 'Tallboy') that broke the sound barrier, and penetrated up to a hundred feet of soil before exploding. Those weapons weighed approximately six tons, and were dropped from only fifteen to twenty thousand feet from Avro Lancasters (by the famed 617 squadron, originally on the U-Boat pens in France, later on the V-3 supergun system and other targets).

If you wanted to sex up the idea more, and actually build new weapons, then the first thing I would do is take a look at the French Durandal cratering munition. This weapon, designed to be dropped at low altitude against runways, was intended to be 'lobbed' upwards slightly by a fighter/bomber...at which point it would tip over and fire a short-lived but powerful booster rocket to give itself downwards vector and slam through the runway surface before detonating. Perhaps you could design a new Mk. 80 tailkit that had the DGPS navigation system and a final-seconds booster - once the weapon was within say a hundred feet of its target ground point, and knew it was on profile, it could ignite the booster. That might give it another few feet of penetration before detonation. The good part is that that could possibly be just added to a tailkit system as well.

In any case, it's quite possible there are massive holes in this idea, which is not original...I just played with it a bit. Some colleagues and I have been tossing that one around ever since Gulf War I and the 'Hardened Penetrator Weapons' that were ginned up for the command and control bunkers, and others have tossed it around as well.

Maybe I should do some math...I used to have some data on Mk. 84 cratering effects somewhere, damn it. Where's my copy of GWAPS?

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April 13, 2006


Sometimes I feel like a FABOB, baby.

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Lightsabers. Right fucking now.

Given this , there had better be a Jedi franchise game out for the Revolution when it ships, because if I can't swing that little controller dealie and get that awesome zzzzmmMMMMmmmmm noise, I ain't buying one.

Posted by jbz at 11:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 12, 2006


Video remix. With anime. Me like.

The Elvis works well with anime. Color me surprised, in primaries with large eyes and pixie face. (Well, okay, it's really Elvis vs. JXL...)

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Cry Of The Thwarted Consumer

Whole Foods (or whatever their Market store calls itself) can just do something anatomically improbable. I show up there seeking solace in food. They have wine. They have cheese. They have chocolate. I seek ice cream. Fine. They do not have any of:
  • Ben & Jerry's Vermonty Python
  • Dove Ultimate Chocolate (or any Dove ice cream at all)
  • or even the ultimate standby, Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Chocolate Chip.
I mean, come on. A weak selection of Ben & Jerry's. A miserable selection of Haagen Dazs. Then a bunch of pastel-colored designer organic crap I've never heard of. Yes, I understand that's the point of Whole Foods or whatever - but if you're going to stock Ben & Jerry's and Haagen-Dazs, for fuck's sake do it right.

Defeated, I retreat sulkily clutching a pint of The Gobfather, a wedge of Spanish Manchego, a warm baguette, some spicy turkey salami, and a spoon.

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April 9, 2006

Apple Boot Camp Gamer Glitch #2

This one is waaaay more annoying. Once in a while, my iMac just loses its USB keyboard. This doesn't appear related to games, either - it has happened while sitting there looking at a blank Windows XP desktop, doing nothing else, no other devices on the bus but my Apple keyboard and Mighty Mouse - just *BONG* and then nothing, no keyboard. On all but one or two occasions, the mouse itself still worked (plugged into the keyboard hub) but the keyboard did not. The CAPS LOCK key was lit (despite my not having hit it) and wouldn't un-light.

Worse, it happens frequently enough that a good solid game of Battlefield: Vietnam guarantees it happening at least twice.

When it happened in Windows alone, I went into the Device Manager and looked, and there was indeed a USB Device in the Human Interface category that had the deadly yellow question mark on it. However, when I unplugged the keyboard and reconnected it, causing it to come back, that device was still there - and when it happened another time, Uninstalling that device and then performing a scan didn't make things better. It looks like the keyboard itself is actually crashing.

This happened three times before I managed to install any software into my Windows XP image, so I don't think it's something I did. Bugger.

Update: Well, hm. I moved the keyboard to a powered USB hub so as to avoid having to stand up and fumble behind the iMac and scratch up its Shiny Plasticky Goodness every time this happened. This changed things slightly; every few times the glitch occurs, the unplug-replug-keyboard trick doesn't work, and can only be remedied by actually unplugging the hub. When this happens, though, Windows goes through its whole "Oooooh! New hardware, goody goody gumdrops, I get to make you reboot now!" routine (although it just puts up a nagging dialog, it doesn't force an immediate reboot, presumably since it's just a USB hub). The interesting thing though is that when I do reboot, it says it can't because the program 'AppleCDEject' is Not Responding.

Interesting. Presumably whatever bit o' software Apple uses to watch for that handy Eject button on the keyboard is tanking. I don't know if that's causal or symptomatic, though.

Update Update: On the advice of a colleague, I spent some time trying to figure out how to prevent AppleCDEject from loading at startup. It's not in Startup Items, nor is it obvious in the Services that are coming up (although I did gleefully kill off stuff like the Theme Manager and other useless frippery). As a test, though, I booted XP, went to the Process Manager and killed it manually, then gamed for two hours without a single keyboard error - so things are looking up. One place I haven't looked yet - there is a single 'Apple Drivers' service loading, I didn't carefully look to see if there are arguments to that service which might be telling it to load the AppleCDEject deal.

I should also try a non-Apple USB keyboard (gotta find one first) and then look to see if it loads.

Update Update Update: I still haven't checked to see if there are keys in the registry that govern the startup of the AppleCDEject program, but as a stopgap measure, I just moved the executable out of the C:\windows\system32\ directory into a temp dir, and it doesn't execute on startup. I notice that I still do get the occasional 'hiccup' in the USB drivers (loss of input, multiple BONGs, input comes back) but they seem to pass within five to ten seconds and the keyboard doesn't crash anymore - so it's still an improvement.

Posted by jbz at 4:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 7, 2006

Apple Boot Camp Gamer Glitch #1

So aside from the spineshivering freakazoidicalness of watching blocky, hideous Redmondoid WinInstaller text scroll around the panel of my shiny new iMac, Apple's Boot Camp public beta seems to work quite well. There are several limitations made known to you in advance: you must have your hard drive partitioned in the default manner (i.e. a single Mac HFS+ Journaled partition, nothing else) at the start, and if you use NTFS for the Windows filesystem, OS X can't by default read your Windows partition. The clock in the iMac isn't exposed properly by their BIOS emulator, so unless you use a network time server, it will keep coming up wacky when you boot into Windows.

I found a couple of my own, some more annoying than others. Here's what I have so far.

  • The ATI display drivers always want to warn me about 'disabling TV display mode' when the XP partition boots, no matter that the drivers don't seem to think I have a TV connected or enabled or that I tell it to not warn me about such things, save, and reboot. Still comes up.
  • Getting CDs out of the drive, until you have installed the Mac driver disk and can use the keyboard eject button, is tiresome. Thankfully the MightyMouse 'right button' does work since it seems to be a hardware function of the mouse itself.
  • Here's the Gamer Glitch: The SigmaTel audio drivers didn't understand I'd plugged headphones into the back until I went and told them so manually, and most problematic they don't seem to be able to shut off the internal speakers at all. No matter what I do, the internal speakers remain on. Manually specifying that I'd plugged in headphones got the headphones themselves to work, but the speakers work as well...which makes gaming late at night not too cool given that I have light-sleeping neighbors. Sigh.
More as I find it. Still, this is a tickle. It irritates me to hear all these analysts go on about how 'this new approach won't help Apple' when in fact Apple has a long history of offering means to run Windows/x86 software, albeit usually pricier ones - remember the DOS Compatibility Card?

Posted by jbz at 2:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 6, 2006

Best Quote Yet on Libby

...comes from Arianna Huffington, no less. I swear. Really. The quote? "Note to Scooter: stick to the deer-fucking."

Posted by jbz at 8:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 5, 2006

Department of Homeland what, again?

Hm. So our recent DHS spokesperson trolling for 14-year-old girls on the internet isn't, apparently, the first incident. Nope nope nope. Sharp-eyed types looking in the open record have found that he is, in fact, the third in the past several months, including one gent who apparently used to run 'Operation Predator' - a child molestation enforcement op inside DHS, how's that for ironic job placement? Not to mention another agent who got taken down on MSNBC camera swearing to cops "I swear to God, as God as my witness, I'm wearing a St. Michael's medal right now, okay? I was not going to do anything with her." This after showing up at the '13 year old girl's' house because 'she' had assured him her parents were away (yes, it was a sting).

Yep. Wonderful agency you've put together there, Mr. Bush. Just the ticket. I'm sure your fundamentalist tipping vote types are all thrilled about them good, Godly Americans you put in place to watch over us all here in the Homeland.

Posted by jbz at 10:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Good God, son, that's the *NOISE*.

By all that's holy. There's a reason The General is shitting bricks sideways into an SUV-sized grave, and it's not even because gas prices are somewhere north of Sting's ego. No, it's because they lost sight of the sound. Yes. The sound. I remember once when I was younger, and my li'l Brit sled was busy wearing a hole in her muffler, when I gave my uncle a ride. We blared into the Callahan tunnel, and I mumbled something about getting the muffler fixed. He gave me a disbelieving look and said "Shit, boy, why? That there's The Noise."

See, GM's forgotten all about The Noise and what it means.

But we haven't. Check that shit out.

That is a sound so pure, so manly, that my ovaries, yes my fucking ovaries quiver in my foppish body at the very wavelengths of it. I am detesticled at its wondrous bassline. I stand before the Noise and my masculinity is not worthy.

To Ride the Noise?

That would be to wear the balls of Steve McQueen while punching with the fists of Clint Eastwood from behind the sneer of Yaphet Kotto and insulting with the voice of James Earl Jones.

There would be no lesser run around the fucking track.

Okay, okay. Chrysler. I know. I know. The SENTIMENT FUCKING STANDS.

Posted by jbz at 12:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 3, 2006

And the suck-ups begin puckering.

Not a pretty sight.

Posted by jbz at 12:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack