REALLY support the troops.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The 'Impact' rally in Boston.

I was there, along with over 2000 of my closest friends.

Helped some sweet dykes get their rainbow flag hoisted. (Lovely women, but couldn't tie a knot to save their lives!) took a bunch of pictures.

This is my favorite:

To see things like this, fills me with hope and optimism. Seeing these two older, distinguished gentlemen, having a conversation with a teenaged Asian girl, speaks so much about what we can be as a society and have become as a society. That these people, who some would think were separated by the gulfs of race and age were engaged in a conversation, the one, learning from and about her elders, the other two, encouraged and energized by this child.

Yes. This IS what hope looks like, what it feels like.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

November 15th. 1:30 PM. Boston. City Hall Plaza.

Protest against Prop 8 in California. Rally for full equality for citizens.

Both the Massachusetts and U.S. Constitutions guarantee all citizens the full and equal protection of and under the law.

I'm straight. I support marriage equality.

I'll be there.

(edit) crossposting my comment from the Facebook Boston Rally page:

"These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it Now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph."

Thomas Paine, The Crisis -- December 1776

Have fun at your "riding lessons and 'American Girl stuff", your "plays", your "other plans".

Sorry that you won't be there in Boston because of the icky rain. Wouldn't want you to be the least bit uncomfortable.

I'm 56 years old. I am badly afflicted with arthritis. Standing in the cold and the rain will hurt like HELL for me. I'm also straight. But I'll BE THERE for my gay brothers and sisters. No matter what.

I can't really say that I'll miss seeing you 'sunshine soldiers' there.

Monday, November 10, 2008

If you look long enough, you can find anything on the Internet.

For example:
Bertrand R. Brinley's 'Rocket Manual For Amateurs'. Published in 1960, it has long been something of the Holy Grail for modern amateur rocketeers.

Chock full of technical details, design specs, and rocket fuel recipes. And that's the reason why it's been out of print for decades.

Rocket Fuel. There are some seriously dangerous formulas in this book. You could easily kill yourself if you did something stupid.

And of course, in this post 9/11, "BE AFRAID!" day and age, as well as the irrational fear of anything that might possibly hurt someone, no one is going to take on the potential liability for republishing this book.

However, getting back to the subject of this posting.

The book is on the Net as a PDF scan of the pages. I just downloaded it myself. Not that I'm planning to brew up rocket fuel in my apartment or launch rockets from the roof of the building.

No, I downloaded it because I'm now one more person that has the PDF, making it just slightly more difficult for this book to be lost and forgotten.

While I'd love to have a genuine hardcopy of the book, the cheapest version I have seen recently was US$50.00 via eBay. Maybe someday I'll be able to spend that kind of money on a 40+ year old paperback book.

Oh, the URL?

Sure. Here you go:

You'll have to download three seperate files, though, via Rapidshare, which will take you about 45 minutes to get all of them, and then use some manner of file decompression utility to expand the .rar files.

Oh, and then there's the matter of the file password.

It's Brinley.

DISCLAIMER!!! I am not responsible for ANYTHING that YOU DO with this book. Don't be stupid! If you have a "Here, hold my beer" moment and wind up getting a Darwin Award, that's not MY FAULT. No way, no how.

Got that? Good.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Has it been that long?

Apparently so.

Save for two trips to NYC, multiple X-Rays and MRIs of my right shoulder, plucking a very nice Macintosh Beige G3 Desktop (with Sonnet 500 Mhz G4 drop in CPU installed) off a Cambridge street corner, said Mac to become my graphics workstation, avoiding early jury service AGAIN, and emailing my Congressman and both Senators, as well as sending actual papermail to their offices, concerning the Wall Street Meltdown and potential bailout, there's not been much writing about.

So, here's the "new" computer:

Yes, that is the "My Life as a Teenage Robot" logo. Gotta love a cartoon where the aforementioned Teenage Robot says things like, "Thank Jobs!" (as in Steve Jobs)

Time for my nighttime pills.

"And so to bed!"

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

If it wasn't for Alan, you wouldn't be reading this!

23 June, 1912 - 7 June, 1954

Simply put, Turing is the father of the digital computer.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dumb Little Thug

The person holding the camera is myself.

The older gentleman is homeless and lives in his car in the parking lot of a supermarket.

The dumb little thug was arrested shortly after he fled from the scene. He plead guilty last week, thanks to the video evidence.

18 months supervised probation, on top of his current probation (I said he was dumb!) and random drug and alcohol testing.

When you're out thugging, if someone is videoing you, you don't look right at the camera and make threats, make threatening gestures, throw stuff and otherwise MAKE IT WORSE FOR YOURSELF!

You run like hell AWAY from the camera.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Well, THERE'S your problem!

A little parking problem on Alpine Street, just around the corner.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What we can do if we try.

The Phoenix Lander and Parachute, photographed as it descends to Mars.

Article here.

Phil Plait says it better than I ever could:

Humanity can do whatever we can imagine. We have only but to decide to do it.

Thank you, Mr. Buckles!

Last known surviving U.S. WWI veteran.

And thank you, too, Mr. Babcock!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Best. Keyboard. EVAR!

There's this podcast, "The Talk Show", and these two guys sit around and talk about computers.

They both use Macs and this episode (download MP3) (iTunes) is an hour and 2 minutes of nothing but the Apple Extended Keyboard and Apple Extended Keyboard II.

I use the original Extended Keyboard myself, and listening to this podcast, I learned that the keyboard I use is one of the first generation of Apple Extendeds. Old School, baby!

I also learned that when these keyboards were introduced in the late 1980s, they retailed in the US$170.00 range.

I can believe it. The quality of the parts and the quality of construction is first rate.

It must be, as I'm using a 20 year old keyboard I bought for a dollar at Goodwill, and it works like it just came off the assembly line.

That's my Apple Extended Keyboard up there, by the HP-45 Calculator and Western Electric 4A SpeakerPhone microphone pedestal.

When I got the "new" Mac, it lacked an Apple Desktop Bus port, needed to use the Extended Keyboard.

I found a Griffin iMate interface on eBay for a reasonable sum. Plugged it in, plugged the keyboard into the interface, rebooted, that was it. It worked perfectly.

I was very pleased, as I was NOT going to do without my Extended Keyboard!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Well, how odd!

Works Progress Administration logo

The wireless connection went all wonky after I fixed a ton of errors on the boot disk with the Disk Utility application on the OS 10.5 disk.

I could not connect to the router. Tried all sorts of things with no success. The Airport Extreme card kept self-assigning an IP address and wouldn't play nice with the router.

Then I found a message on the machintsosx message boards, referencing a document on

I read the document, and thought that there's NO WAY this will fix things.

"Change from WEP security to WPA security." is what was suggested.

"What the hell, lets try it", I thought.

It works.

So, right now, the wireless connection is working flawlessly... right now.

I think that tomorrow I might hit MicroCenter in Cambridge and see if the Ethernet card I want is in stock. I prefer an Internet connection I can trust to stay connected.

(edit) Well, the wireless connection has stayed up and running since this post went live.

Looks like the fix works.

Go figure.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Back to normal!

For some reason, the new operating system, Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5.2), was VERY slow when accessing the Internet. Web pages took minutes to fully load, if at all.

Turns out it was the Ethernet card in the computer. The built in Ethernet port is dead, and the card uses a chipset that does not play well with Leopard.

So I turned on the wireless connection between the computer and the DSL modem/router as an experiment.

And that was it. The card was at fault and the wireless connection is as fast as the previous OS Ethernet connection ever was.

I'll see about getting a new Ethernet card next month, as I prefer a hardwired connection for reasons of security.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A quick update

OS X 10.5 has been successfully installed!
I needed to download only ONE updated application to replace a previous version that was not compatible with Leopard.

Currently downloading the large QuickTime update and the Big Mc Large Huge 10.5.2 combo update.

If The Force and St. Vidicon are with me, I'll have a fully patched and up to date OS running on my Macintosh Real Soon Now.

Ah, eBay, from which all blessings flow!

I have this Macintosh Mirror Door Drive (MDD) tower computer, sitting on the floor under the table I use as a computer "desk".

About two weeks ago, I had it on my workbench (aka the kitchen countertop) to install a new video card. At the same time, I had to clean out all the dust and crud that had accumulated in it.

This particular Mac model has some prodigious ventilation needs, due to the dual 1.42 Ghz. processors and massive CPU heat sink.

I had to use the vacuum cleaner to get all the dust, etc out of the inside, and you do not want to know about the mat of dust and hair that had been blocking the main air intake for the tower.

Recalling that there had been some attractive aftermarket "riser" legs for this type of Mac tower, I did a bit of Googling and found them!

However, they are no longer manufactured!

So, off to eBay!

And there they were.

Kept an eye on them for a few days, no one was bidding, I placed the minimum bid and waited.

I won them, PayPal-ed the money, and they arrived the other day.

And here they are, installed on my Macintosh:

They'll go a long way towards keeping the dust and whatnot from getting into the computer, as well as keeping that main air intake vent unclogged.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

RE: Apple Store Opening

Was there, Did that, and indeed, I DID get the t-shirt!

I'm currently moving all the images and video from the memory card to a hard drive. They'll be available later.

So, I got there at about 3:00 PM, and the line was already around the block. Eventually, word had it, the line reached the Charles River.

Lots of press, including two helicopters. Spent most of the time chatting with fellow Mac users.

About 20 minutes before the doors opened, the staff came out, and ran down the line cheering and high fiving people. Getting the energy up for the opening.

At a little after six, we began to move towards the door. Inside, on either side and all the way up the huge circular staircase, the staff had lined up and were applauding and cheering and again with the high fives!

It was, without doubt, one of the most amazing experiences during my time in Boston. I could not stop grinning.

The noise! Oy! I could not hear myself as I made a brief video. I'm hoping that I'll be able to edit (in iMovie, of course!) all the video clips into something coherent.

The store itself is in the old CopyCop location across from the Prudential (for all you current and past Bostonians.) and is three stories tall, glass fronted, with the Apple logo promenently displayed.

Every horizontal surface that has a product on it is wheelchair accessable. That is, someone in a chair can roll right up close and play with the toys. There are elevators in the back of the store for the use of the disabled and the lazy.

There are LOTS of computers available to mess with, as well as iPhones and iPods.

I was in there about 45 minutes and then had to leave (the bladder was being quite insistant!

I'll be going back, more to play with the hardware than actually buy anything.

After actually being there, I now understand why people make trips to attend the openings of new Apple Stores.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Big Day!

Tomorrow, Thursday, 15 May 2008, at 6:00 PM, the very first Boston Apple Store opens its doors on Boylston Street, across from the Prudential Center.

I will be there, and, I hope, among the first hundred in line so I can get a limited edition t-shirt, among other goodies Apple hands out. (edit) There were MORE than enough t-shirts available!

Oh, yes. There WILL be photographs!

(photo of Boylston Street Apple Store copyright © 2008 by Apple. Used with permission)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

In a week, it'll be one year since I lugged the Apple 21" CRT Studio Monitor home. Hasn't given me a moment of trouble in all that time.

There's a reason Apple has such a devoted fan base.

They make superb hardware, to go along with their superb software and operating system.

There's nothing better!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A little hardware geekery

Over the past few weeks, my Macintosh has received:

An upgraded Core Image compatible Video Card (Thanks, Keith!), another Gigabyte of RAM, and the 6 Gigabyte hard drive has been replaced by an 80 Gigabyte hard drive.

Next month (assuming the budget doesn't get blown by something unanticipated) I'll add the Apple Bluetooth transceiver module, in anticipation of adding a Logitech (or similar) wireless mouse at a future date.

There is also the potential for adding a Bluetooth headset for use with Skype/video iChat and/or other VOIP/video IM services. Depending on what shows up at the MIT Flea Market a suitable webcam might also be added to the system.

I would LOVE to get the discontinued Apple iSight camera. Apparently, so does the rest of the Apple using universe. Used iSights on eBay and elsewhere are selling for far more than I can afford/am willing to pay.

The X-Box 360 webcam is an often recommended webcam for Mac users, even though it lacks a built-in microphone, a la the iSight webcam.

A very attractive audio device for use with the X-Box camera is the Griffin iMic USB audio I/O interface. This would allow the use of an external microphone with the X-Box camera.

Also, as it has an audio out jack, my desire to have extension computer speakers in the kitchen area and the bathroom would be that much closer to reality.

Now, if only broadband would get to the neighborhoods of a few friends of mine with computers, Skype, iChat, et al, would save everyone so much money on their phone bills!

Friday, May 2, 2008

"As Seen On TV!"

Ben Stein, shilling for the anti-evolution/pro "Intellegent Design" movie, 'Expelled', on the Trinity Broadcasting Network:

Stein: When we just saw that man, I think it was Mr. Myers [biologist P.Z. Myers], talking about how great scientists were, I was thinking to myself the last time any of my relatives saw scientists telling them what to do they were telling them to go to the showers to get gassed … that was horrifying beyond words, and that’s where science — in my opinion, this is just an opinion — that’s where science leads you.

Crouch: That’s right.

Stein: …Love of God and compassion and empathy leads you to a very glorious place, and science leads you to killing people.

Crouch: Good word, good word.

Ben, it wasn't "Scientists" that blew up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, set off bombs at the Atlanta Olympics, Planned Parenthood clinics and gay bars in that part of the US, murdered Jewish radio talk show host Alan Berg. These crimes were committed by devout, True Believers in their particular faith. Their only interest in "science" was how to make bombs and poisons.

(sourced from, The Panda's Thumb and National Review Online)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A&E and the Andromeda Strain

Remember how good the movie was?

Yeah, well, the two parter of The Andromeda Strain that'll be shown on A&E starting memorial day is not that good.

OK, I can live with the error about Buckminster Fuller discovering "Buckyballs", rather than having them named after him.

But come on! Having the WILDFIRE site powered by a small nuclear reactor with an open pile, looking like a fuel rod storage pool, complete with the blue glow of Cherenkov radiation.

And then there's the wormhole from whence came the Andromeda Strain.

Don't forget the secondary and tertiary sub-plots concerning a substance abusing reporter AND a Government Conspiracy, a la The X-Files.

OY! Just... Oy.

The first part IS pretty good, and 3/4ths of the second part holds the attention, but, yeah, the whole reactor thing just ruined it for me.

Your milage may vary.

Rating: C+.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The things you find when you look up!

Yes, it's THAT 'Massachusetts 54th Volunteer Infantry'. You know, these guys!

It's about a 20 minute stroll from where I live.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Gone, but not forgotten

(found on the website)

A monument to Laika, the first dog to go into space, standing on top of a rocket, is unveiled in Moscow, Friday, April 11, 2008. Russian officials on Friday unveiled the monument to Laika, a mongrel dog whose flight to space more than 50-years ago paved the way for human space missions. The small monument is located near a military research facility in Moscow that prepared Laika's flight to space on Nov. 3, 1957. Credit: AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Look! Up in the sky!

Taken with a little Kodak point and shoot digital camera from the living room window of my apartment.

I had to fiddle with the brightness and contrast a bit.

I was surprised to see that the camera captured the star Regulus, as well as Saturn. Click to see the larger image and the planet & star.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

"...a day which will live in infamy!"

(with apologies to the memory of FDR!)

Today is the first anniversary of the Great Boston LED Freakout and Mooninite Pwnage.

"It had a very sinister appearance,"

So does Dick Cheney.

[Massachusetts Attorney General Martha] Coakley told reporters. "It had a battery behind it, and wires."

So does Dick Cheney's heart.

Does this mean that we can get the Boston Bomb Squad to blow up Dick Cheney?

Never Forget!

(edit) MAKE magazine recalls 01/31/07!

OMG! LED art invades Boston on the first anniversary of 01/31/07!

Make your own LED light board.

Friday, January 4, 2008

And I'm officially 'healed'.

I saw the surgeon the other day and he pronounced my sugical wound healed, and that I would no longer need the services of the home health care nurses.

The straight black lines are adhesive residue from the tape used to hold the dressings in place.

You could click on the image for a much larger view, but I wouldn't recommend it. There's really not much to see and the image IS huge.

Now, if it would only stop itching!