Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Freezing on no tires

A couple more weeks go by. It turns out bikebandit.com cancelled my backordered tire and never told me about it, or at least I never got an e-mail notification. Now I have a new front tire I don't need and can't use, and can't return, and it's mid-December. So much for 2006. I haven't decided whether I want to reorder with Bike Bandit or not. Dunlop workers are still on strike, so I guess I'll be ordering something else.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Freezing on scab tires

Two weeks since the last post and still no word on my back tire. Contacted bikebandit.com. Turns out, Goodyear owns Dunlop, and Goodyear-Dunlop workers are on strike. Fortunately, they have hired replacement workers, so I'm sure in a few weeks (like, mid-December) I'll be tooling around on my scab-built Z-rated tire. Yay!

Monday, November 06, 2006

How I spent a week of sick days

Aside from actually being sick, that is, which I was (and still am).


Decided I should try to get my bike (1997 Kawasaki ZX-6) running again. Last season about this time I developed a slow leak in the new rear tire and decided to park it. Washed bike. Battery dead. Put on charger.


Battery shows some signs of life, but only 12.2 V. Replace battery ($50).


Bike starts, runs, despite the old gas. Added some Gumout (50 ml) to the tank. Inflated rear tire. Went for a short (6 mi) ride, and it seems to hold pressure.


Rear tire flat. Found out why after about 10 seconds of inspection: 2 inch long piece of metal (aluminum roofing staple, perhaps) embedded in tread. After about 30 minutes of poking and prodding, it comes out. Air soon follows. Added 8 oz of Slime, which seems to seal it.


Tire still holding pressure. Take a short test ride. After less than one mile, a hornet stings me on the neck near the windpipe around the top of my jacket's zipper. Return home for meds. Ride for about 5 miles. Rear tire is flat. Decide to give up on patching and order new rear tire. Discover tire (Dunlop D205) is no longer in production, replaced with D220, so I have to order a new front tire as well.


Ordered new tires; total cost about $210 from BikeBandit.com. Mount and balance will be about another $70; must remember to insist on new valve stems this time.

Update: Tuesday

One of the new tires is back-ordered. Guess which one? Yes, the rear, the one I really need. ETA: 2 weeks. And the front has already shipped. Sigh.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Weird gear-driven steam locomotive

I saw this Shay locomotive at the Hesston Steam Museum over the weekend. I had no idea these things existed. Instead of long connecting rods driving the wheels directly, the pistons drive a crankshaft like you might find in a typical internal combustion engine. The crankshaft connects to the drive wheels through driveshafts, universal joints, and a ring and pinion gear system, similar to an automotive rear-end gearset. Here are some more pictures, including some miniature steam locomotives.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


I saw an article come up on Groklaw today entitled, OpenLinux 3.1.1 Still Available, with the 2.4 kernel:
Guess what? I'm told you can still download Caldera's OpenLinux 3.1.1 from the Internet. Yup. OpenLinux is still marching on, thanks to that perfect license the GPL...

My initial reaction was, "So? Hasn't this been established for a long time?" Well, maybe not. Then I remembered a little item I have in a stack of old Linux CDs: LINUX TECHNOLOGY PREVIEW FEATURING THE NEW LINUX 2.4 KERNEL PREVIEW, © 2000, Caldera Systems, Inc. All Rights ReservedIf you can't see images for some reasons, these are two CDs labelled, "LINUX TECHNOLOGY PREVIEW FEATURING THE NEW LINUX 2.4 KERNEL PREVIEW", "© 2000, Caldera Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved". The first CD is labelled "Installation Disk" and also has the note "GPL Source downloadable from: ftp.calderasystems.com/pub/LTP". (Incidentally, that directory is still there, and it has a SRPMS directory, but it's empty.) The second CD is labelled "Source Code". I popped in the Source CD and lookie lookie: Linux-2.4.0 source code, can it be? One of the files inside that RPM is linux-2.4.0-test3.tar.bz2. You can also find this file on the kernel.org archives and the accompanying PGP/GPG signature matches which proves it's the same file:

gpg: Signature made Tue 10 Oct 2000 02:39:32 AM EDT using DSA key ID 517D0F0E
gpg: Good signature from "Linux Kernel Archives Verification Key "

So here is a standing offer to IBM: If you want to borrow these CDs for your case against SCO, you are more than welcome to have them free-of-charge, although when it's all over, I'd like them back so I can frame them and hang them on my wall and laugh. I won't object if you frame them for me or put them in a nice display case, but this is not a requirement. Owned.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Spider-blog, spider-blog

The one on the left is actually a new one, but I think thie same species as the other brown one from previous days. The yellow and black garden spider below is still the same one, still in the same spot. I finally figured out how to get a decent shot of it that isn't so blurry. In case you are wondering, I'm using an Olympus Stylus 410 camera. with a Mag-Lite as the light source (one of the 3-D cell one). Yeah, flashlight.

You should see the ones I threw away. I kept this really blurry one because it's actually a little creepier.

More spider porn!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

ShopperSavingCenter = cockgobblers

Just for fun, I clicked on one of those ads that say "You've won a free 42" plasma TV", just so I could see what happens. Of course, there are "Terms and Conditions":
4. Eligibility for Receiving a Free Item for Referral-based websites

(a) For this particular website, users must do the following to be eligible to get approval to receive their free product:

i. You must successfully complete the following sponsored offers: two (2) offers from Silver Offers, two (2) offers from Gold Offers, and eight (8) offers on Platinum Offers.

ii. Refer at least two (2) unique person (s) who join(s) and also correctly complete(s) the same offer requirements listed above.

(b) After a user signs up with our website and successfully completes an offer, they must get two (2) person(s) to also sign up with our website and successfully complete the same offer requirements to get their free item. In order to connect these referrals to the original user, we issue this user a unique link to our offer site, which they must then distribute to the intended parties. Thus, the user is entirely responsible for all communications regarding our offer sites. At no point during the offer process does ShoppersSavingCenter.com send out any communications on the user's behalf to encourage such signups to occur.

(c) A user may complete more than required offers and may refer more than two (2) referrals, but cannot earn more than 1 free product with their account. Any additional referrals or offer completions will not result in any additional free items.

(d) Referrals completing multiple offers will only count once towards referral accruement for the referrer.

(e) We will only give out credit for referrals who join by clicking on your referral link code. Anyone who does not click this URL or type it into their web browser exactly cannot be tracked, and thus, cannot be connected to your account. Note that some applications can remove the tracking part of this URL. Users assume the risk of not getting credit for some referrals when using our site(s).

(f) Users may only receive 1 free item per account.

(g) A user must have a valid email address and a valid shipping address in the United States. The user should also note that some products cannot be shipped to PO Boxes. We only allow one account per shipping address.

(h) Users must be residents of the United States, and there can only be one account per shipping address.

(i) This offer expires 60 days from the date you register on the site. If at the end of the 60 day period, you have successfully completed the required number sponsored offers but have not referred two (2) unique households who have successfully completed the required number sponsored offers, you will not be eligible to receive the free promotional item; but as a consolation for participating, you will automatically receive a complementary $50 gift card.

In other words, you've got to buy 12 other things (exactly what is not known until you sign up), get two other suckers to sign up, and your suckers have to each buy the 12 mystery crap items, all within 60 days. Your basic pyramid scheme.

Suck it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Logical exclusive-or in Python

Python has and, or, and not logical operators, and it has & (and), | (or), ~ (not), and ^ (xor) bitwise operators, but no logical xor. However, since you can pass any object to bool() and get back a boolean (True, False), and booleans are automatically convertable to integers (1, 0), the bitwise operators work on booleans as well:
>>> True ^ True
>>> True ^ False
>>> False ^ False

However, if testing things that are not actually booleans or integers, you need to wrap them in bool() first:

>>> "foo" ^ None
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "", line 1, in ?
TypeError: unsupported operand type(s) for ^: 'str' and 'NoneType'
>>> bool("foo") ^ bool(None)

Updated 2006-09-14. I realized you could also use is not with booleans to get an xor operator:

>>> True is not True
>>> True is not False
>>> False is not False

This seems more Pythonic. As with ^, non-booleans must be wrapped with bool():

>>> bool("foo") is not bool(None)
>>> bool("foo") is not bool("bar")

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

del.icio.us links for 2006-09-06

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

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Monday, September 04, 2006

del.icio.us links for 2006-09-04

  • Australia's "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin dies: Queensland state government sources quoted by Australian Associated Press (AAP) said Steve Irwin, 44, whose television show "The Crocodile Hunter" won international acclaim and popularized the phrase "Crikey," was believed to have been killed by a stingra ( )

Sunday, September 03, 2006

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

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Monday, August 14, 2006

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

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Bats, man!

My house seems to attract all sorts of strange critters. I count at least four in this picture, but the actual number is closer to 20. Guess I should put up that bat house that's been sitting on my workbench for too long to mention.

Friday, August 11, 2006

del.icio.us links for 2006-08-11

  • Whiplash: Cowboy Monkey: Whiplash the Cowboy monkey is truly a fan favorite, he is an international star and a true cowboy. He is an 18 yr old Capuchin Monkey and he is one of the biggest little monkeys in the world. Whiplash has been riding since he was two yrs old. ( )

Thursday, August 10, 2006

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

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Friday, July 28, 2006

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

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Monday, July 24, 2006

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

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