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Archive for December, 2006

Upgrade Firefox or lose all your Gmail

Posted in Electronic Security, Tech Industry on December 28th, 2006 by leodirac – Comments Off on Upgrade Firefox or lose all your Gmail

Here’s the best reason I’ve heard to upgrade your browser in a long time. Apparently a number of people are finding their gmail accounts wiped clean. This is potentially linked to a known security flaw in Firefox 2.0 which was fixed in related to cross-site scripting (XSS). So upgrade your firefox, yo. I’ve heard from security experts that FF has way more problems than IE does, but it just doesn’t get attacked as much. I hate to say it, but we’re probably already living in a world where all software not only has bugs but has security bugs too….

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Rhapsody Online adds Playlists

Posted in Music, User Experience on December 18th, 2006 by leodirac – 2 Comments

If you’re a frequent visitor to you’ve probably noticed that a bunch of “plus” buttons recently appeared all over the site. Right next to basically every play button on the site, there’s a new button that brings up a context window with lots of new options: So you can build a playlist as you’re browsing the music catalog. You can also (finally) queue up music without interrupting the current song. There’s also a drag-and-drop playlist editor for modifying existing playlists. All these playlists are accessible from everywhere Rhapsody works — in the Rhapsody PC Software, on your Sonos system,…

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How to fix failed migrations for “Lost connection to MySQL”

Posted in Ruby on Rails on December 16th, 2006 by leodirac – 1 Comment

Yet another in the long series of “why does rails give such useless error messages?” I could migrate in the development environment fine, but when i tried to migrate in the test environment, I got this: C:\dev\radrailsws\snorb>rake migrate RAILS_ENV=test (in C:/dev/radrailsws/snorb) rake aborted! Mysql::Error: Lost connection to MySQL server during query: SELECT version FROM schema_info After a bit of digging I thought it was because the mysql account in the test environment is different from development, so I ran this to grant full permissions: mysql> grant all on snorb_test.* to unit_test_user Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec) But that…

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100% Chance of Rain in Seattle

Posted in Chemistry, Geography, Humor, Science, Seattle on December 15th, 2006 by leodirac – 1 Comment

I’ve had my own system for interpreting that “chance of rain” numbers that meteorologists use to predict weather. Along the lines of how people say eskimos have 137 different words for snow, here in Seattle, rain isn’t a simple yes/no thing. I wrote about it here a little while ago. The basic idea is that the % chance of rain is actually the % chance that a random person on the street would consider the current weather to be “rain.” I’ve also long believed that in Seattle it’s impossible to get over about 98% chance of rain because some die-hard…

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My Yahoo clogged up with Peanut Butter?

Posted in Business, Tech Industry on December 14th, 2006 by leodirac – Comments Off on My Yahoo clogged up with Peanut Butter?

I’ve used as a feed reader for a while. It’s a nice compact way to view a few of the feeds I pay close attention to. But in the last few weeks it’s been screwing up left and right. Sometimes it doesn’t get updates for days on end. Today it reached a new low: it thinks there are no posts from any of the feeds I subscribe to. I think maybe they’ve got a bit too much peanut butter clogging up the works. ;) Maybe I should make a serious attempt to switch over to Realtime.

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New York bans Trans-fats

Posted in Chemistry, Cooking, Science, Societal Values on December 10th, 2006 by leodirac – Comments Off on New York bans Trans-fats

I’m a little slow to re-report this, but but I find it fascinating so I want to share it in case you missed it. New York City has banned the use of trans-fats in restaurants. They’ve done this almost completely (a few exceptions for things like donut shops) and very quickly (by middle of next year) and extremely decisively. I find this amazing for a couple of reasons. First, it drives home the artificial nature of trans-fats. I’ve thought of them as similar to saturated fats in a lot of ways — things that are everywhere but should be avoided….

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Breaking Bridges

Posted in Ego, Science, Structural Mechanics on December 8th, 2006 by leodirac – 1 Comment

Last night I had a great time at a local O’Reilly event building a bridge out of popsicle sticks with a few good friends. The rules were pretty simple: you get 1,000 popsicle sticks and some hot glue guns to build a bridge that spans a 15″ gap in 30 minutes. Then we try to break them by standing on them. At first blush, very similar to a contest my junior high science teacher used to do, and that happen all over the place. But there are a number of subtleties in the execution of the competition that greatly effected…

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Buy More Stuff!

Posted in Humor, Seattle, Societal Values on December 4th, 2006 by leodirac – 3 Comments

Some people complain that the holidays have become too commercial. That the holiest of christian holidays has become an excuse to accumulate material things, and that the true meaning, whatever that was, is being lost. I disagree. I think now is the time to Buy More Stuff! I have to give props out to all my friends who have been dutifully going down to Westlake center on the weekends to spread the good word. Someday soon I hope to have time to join them. The only thing that really surprises me about this is that some (clearly unamerican) people argue…

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More detailed critique of Quantum Communication Paper

Posted in Ego, Humor, Physics, Science on December 1st, 2006 by leodirac – Comments Off on More detailed critique of Quantum Communication Paper

Yesterday I got all excited about a journal article indicating the possibility of faster-than-light communication through quantum entanglement. But I got excited before fully reading the article, and once I had I wrote a quick comment apologizing for the false alarm. It’s not a peer-reviewed article, and it’s not very scientific. I actually spent hours digging through their references trying to understand what they were saying, and wrote a longish post to a mailing list about it, so I figure I might as well share the analysis here. First, a minor quip from page 3 where they confuse atomic number…

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