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•Fame - Eventually, the Internet will make everyone Andy Warhol for 15 minutes.

-Mike Fried, 2001
 
•Computer Stuff - Even though I have been doing computer stuff forever, in recent years through my company Arbalest, there are some details I forget from time to time. This is especially true as I change back and forth between environments and technologies.

The solution to this is a good set of notes - like my notes on the vi editor or on UNIX commands. Then there are my notes on C++ and....

<more are coming as I convert them to HTML>
 
Words - What's the difference between an Archeologist and an Anthropologist? What about the difference between jail and prison?

Look here and find out.
 
•No, I'm Not the Same Mike Fried that plays the steel guitar. His site is here Mike-Fried.com. Although I have seen the band when they came through Chicago and they are quite good. Also, I am not the author/art-critic, or the mathematician or any of the doctor(s) by the same name. I'm not even the swimmer or the realtor...
 
•Cats have proven that gravity is really a state of mind. A number of times recently one of the house cats here has demonstrated the ability to alter his weight at will. Since mass is constant he must be doing this by altering the effect of gravity on his mass.

While on the scale he is an average cat of 12 lbs. But, in a matter of seconds he alters his weight to mere ounces as he levitates to the top of the refrigerator. A short while later as he falls asleep on my lap he converts his weight to something around 20 lbs. When I try to push him off my lap he just adds on another 10 lbs!
 
•Download Anthem

O beautiful for spacious disks,
For threaded waves of news,
For perfect downloads from mirror sites,
Without the annoying wait!
Ameritech! Ameritech!
Please slash your rates for me
And wire thy 'hood
With bandwidth good
From ISP's to me!

Mike Fried, 1998
 
 

• Books - A list of recent reads are here, and very brief reviews are here

Update - adding the tech books has now made this table a mess and the separate page of reviews out of date. This will have to be turned into a database driven table/page soon...

 

•Grant Park, Chicago - An issue of particular interest to me lately is the brazen land-grab in a protected area on Chicago's lake-front. I've written about this a fair bit on my blog.

The short story is that the mayor is using the"cover story" of wanting to build a children's museum there. The permits and rezoning that would go along with the project paves the way for much more development and happens to allow for restaurants with liquor licenses in the park. For the kids, indeed!

Citizens are overwhelmigly against the plan but the mayor is willing to take it to court where he can fight against his own citizens for the rights of his developer buddies -- as well as the ones in the food and liquor business. After all, he'll be paying for the court battle with taxpayer dollars anyway.

At least there is some organized resistance to the mayor's effort.

 
•Latkes? Did you say Potato Latkes?
 
•Wiser Words are seldom spoken in a movie as when, in The Matrix, Agent Smith says:

Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment. But you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area.

There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? ... A virus.
 
•Small Claims How to be thoroughly exhausted and degraded while trying to get what's yours. Mike Fried describes his experience in Cook County's small claims court.

[in progress - check back soon]
 
Honest Bob. Some people are good at organizing things, then there's Bob. A director of a lab by day, Bob is an event organizer extrodinaire. In September of 2002 friends from Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan convened for one of Bob's events. Parts of the 2003 season were rained out but look for a full schedule in 2004!
 
 
• Blogging - Seems like weblogs are everywhere these days. I think I'll give it a try. As the page you are now reading is quite cluttered and not too easy to maintain most new stuff will go to the blog from now on.
 

•Power Cords - It's great that the power cords for all of our computer equipment (not to mention other stuff) are interchangeable these days. But, if a committee went through the trouble of making a standard for Modular Power Cords and assuring their safety and reliability then why didn't they address the problem of them falling out of the back of the chassis?

I have worked with computers that were in highly secure rooms requiring pass keys, PIN numbers and even hand geometry (biometrics) scanners just to enter. These rooms have elaborate air conditioning and fire extinguishing equipment and the power for this equipment is highly filtered. Furthermore, the power is typically further assured by either batteries and the associated conversion equipment or even diesel generators. In spite of all of this "protection" I have more than once been in a situation where in the midst of the most delicate work with live equipment someone knocks the cord out of the chassis!

The International Electrotechnical Commission is an international safety agency similar to UL or CSA. Their Subcommittee 23B deals with PLUGS, SOCKET-OUTLETS AND SWITCHES and one part of their 4 part charter is to:

b) To prepare standards for general purposes plugs and fixed and portable socket-outlets, fused plugs, socket-outlets for appliances, switched socket-outlets with and without interlock, plugs and socket-outlets for SELV, with a rated voltage not exceeding 440 V and a rated current not exceeding 32 A, intended for household and similar purposes, either indoors or outdoors.

If you were ordering a modular power cord from a catalog you would be looking for the spec - IEC 320 which refers to the physical and electrical specifications of accessory power connectors. But to actually understand this specification in further detail you would look at the set of Publications under 29.120.30 -- Plugs, socket-outlets, couplers. There you will find publication IEC 60884-1 (2002-06) Plugs and socket-outlets for household and similar purposes - Part 1: General requirements. From the IEC web site I see that I may buy this publication for 240.00 Swiss Francs - about $176 US (the price for publications with 241 to 280 pages) if I were so inclined.

Does this document explain why they went through all this work without addressing this obvious problem?

Although it is too late for their last meeting in Stockholm their next meeting is in Beijing in October. I wonder what they talk about. I'll see about dropping in and asking them about this problem.


 
Recent Reads -- for more details about these books click here
Nonfiction Tech/Finance Fiction
Angry White Pyjamas 8
Robert Twigger
Dynamic Hedging 3
Nassim Taleb
A Confederacy of Dunces 10
John Kennedy Toole
Long Distance: A Year of Living Strenuously 6
Bill McKibben
Applied Regression Analysis  
 
Jitterbug Perfume 10
Tom Robbins
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man 8
John Perkins
Introductory Econometrics  
 
Love in the Time of Cholera 10
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Equations of Eternity 4
David Darling
An Introduction to Modern Bayesian Econometrics  
 
Haikus For Jews 9
David M. Bader
The Bubble of American Supremacy 7
George Soros
Analysis of Financial Time Series  
 
Heart of Darkness 8
Joseph Conrad
Americans at War 8
Stephen Ambrose
Financial Modeling  
Simon Beninga
Even Cowgirls get the Blues 8
Tom Robbins
The Truth with Jokes 9
Al Franken
 
Still Life with Woodpecker 6
Tom Robbins
The Price of Loyalty 8
Ron Suskind
Mastering Matlab 7  
Hanselman, Littlefield
The Poisonwood Bible 8
Barbara Kingsolver
The Last American Man 7
Elizabeth Gilbert
 
Small Gods 9
Terry Prachett
For the Time Being 6
Annie Dillard
Advanced Modeling in Finance using Excel and VBA  
 
Dead Souls 8
Nikolai Gogol
Longitude 8
Dava Sobel
Professional Excel Development  
 
Oh, The Things I Know! 8
Al Franken
Galileo's Daughter 6
Dava Sobel
Spreadsheet Modeling and Decision Analysis  
 
My Dog Skip / My Cat Spit McGee 5
Willie Morris
Make Gentle the Life of This World - The Vision of RFK 8
 
 
   
 
The Tao of Pooh 9
Benjamin Hoff
Programming Python  
 
 
The Te of Piglet 5
Benjamin Hoff
Dive into Python  
Mark Pilgrim
 
The Professor and the Madman 8
Simon Winchester
   
Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World 8
Mark Kurlansky
Code Complete  
McConnell
 
Nixon's Ten Commandments of Statecraft 7
James C. Humes
Teach Yourself Visual C++.Net in 21 Days 3
Davis Chapman
 
A Beautiful Mind 8
Sylvia Nasar
Visual C++ .Net - How to Program 8
Deitel and Deitel
   
 
Blackhawk Down 6
Mark Bowden
Object Oriented Analysis and Design with C++  
Jesse Liberty
   
 
The Year 1000 6
R. Lacey /D. Danziger
Effective STL  
Scott Meyers
   
 
A Question of Character: A Life of John F. Kennedy 8
Thomas C. Reeves
Applying Use-Case Driven Object Modeling with UML  
Rosenberg
   
 
Understanding the Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright 9
Donald Hoffman
STL Tutorial and Reference Guide  
Musser, Degre and Saini
   
 
All Too Human 7
George Stepanopolus
The C++ Standard Library  
Jousuttis
   
 
Locked in the Cabinet 7
Robert Reich
 
   
 
Masters of Disguise 7
Antonio Mendez
A Mathematician Plays the Stock Market 8
 
   
 
Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush 8
Molly Ivins
Fermat's Last Theorem 3
Amir D. Aczel
   
 
Brunelleschi's Dome 8
Ross King
 
   
 
Night 7
Elie Wezel
 
   
 
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them 9
Al Franken
 
   
 
If you haven't got the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over? 7
Jeffery Mayer
 
   
 

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