The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Friday, August 15, 2014

ATM inside … ENJOY!

Bunny and I had a recomendation, and we were in the neighborhood, so we decided to give the Boynton Diner a try.

The food was okay, not exceptionally good to write about. I would not have given this former seafood restaurant (really—the decor just screamed “I AM A SEAFOOD RESTAURANT! LOOK ON MY WORKS, YE HUNGRY, AND DESPAIR!”) a second thought but for it's great attention to making money.

[They sold AD SPACE on their outdoor sign%#8253]

Checks? Really? You accept checks? You can't be bothered to accept credit cards? Debit cards? Checks?


It's nice that they have an ATM so they can get a nice cut of the $3 “convenience fee” when using it.

They also had placemats. They're not rare. A lot of restaurants have place mats. What a lot of restaurants don't have are placements crammed with advertising—every last millimeter.


On the placemats!

At this point, it was surprising that were not running custom advertising on the televisions mounted around the restaurant (although I am loath to give them the idea).

Like I said, the food was okay and the service was good. It was just the incessant advertising that got to us.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

It doesn't have to be one piece to be monolithic

I'm still chugging away on “Project: Sippy-Cup” where, for the past few weeks, I've been hurrying up and waiting as we run through IOT with a few other companies.

The problem I've had with running tests here at the Ft. Lauderdale Office of The Corporation has been just the sheer number of moving parts required to test anything. “Project: Sippy-Cup” talks to component T, which talks to two other components, E and SM. SM talks to a few more components, and so on, and so on. It's difficult to stub these out because then time is wasted debugging the “fake” components and before you know it, you've written pretty much a duplicate component that is just as buggy as the component you are trying to fake, but with different bugs. So I try to use actual components whenever possible.

Only today I found out that the instance of component SM, for whatever reason, is refusing to talk to component T, which I'm using to test “Project: Sippy-Cup.” I've always attempted to use existing SM instances so I don't have to fire one up (when I first started, we didn't have our own SM component; it seems that in the few years I've been here, one has been written—fancy that!) and I've been afraid that something like this would crop up. So now I have to configure the SM component so that the T component is happy so that I can test “Project: Sippy-Cup.”

My complaints about this reached fellow cow-orker B, who wrote the following in email:

There's a word for software that requires every last piece of every last server to be running in order to test any part of it:


B has a point. It doesn't have to be one piece to be monolithic.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Smooth Operator

Bunny and I were some one hundred yards from the mall entrance when we passed a booth. “Their products are really nice,” she said. “I bought some a few years ago.”

That's all it took, the slight pause by the booth, the positive comment about the cosmetic products, the serious lack of other customers nearby to provide adequate shielding and before either of us knew it, we found ourselves talking to Rafael, an impeccably dressed man, about 5′6″—a bit on the short side, but beautifully proportioned, with a hansome face framed by dark brown hair and perfectly groomed moustache and beard.

Oh, he was smooth. Within minutes he had us holding a jar of facial peeling gel and I couldn't help but notice him slip a bottle of moisturizing cream into one of Bunny's shopping bags, since it was a free gift for buying the gel.

But it was his three attempts at demonstrating some other cream for the eyes that turned Bunny away, and thus I got hit full force with the magnificence of Rafael's personality in selling unisex cosmetics. I too, got the jar of facial peeling gel, and as a free gift, a bottle of men's after shave balm, despite my attempted explaination that I rarely, if ever, shave.

Rafael just took it in stride, and before I knew it, I was rubbing a sea salt body scrub in my hands as Rafael was lightly spritzing water over them. And then, we had a bag with two jars of facial peel (his-n-hers), one jar of moisturizing cream, a bottle of men's after shave balm, a jar of the sea salt body scrub, a jar of “energizing” body butter, a bar of sea salt soap and in my hand, somehow, a slip of paper with Rafael's phone number and email address on it.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Masterpiece, copy, forgery—where is the line drawn?

Felice Ficherelli wanted a Vermeer.

Well, maybe.

Felice was a contemporary of Vermeer, an obscure painter whom he might have known, or might not have known—we really have no idea. This is all we know for sure:

Could this second painting—the copy, the duplicate—have sprung from the hand of Vermeer? Could it be the magical #37? Yes, if you believe Christie’s Auction House, which auctioned that very painting yesterday for $10.2 million. (You just missed your chance to have your own Vermeer!)

Why would Vermeer have copied an obscure Italian painting? Copying was quite common then, not only as an act of training, but also for financial gain. So perhaps Tim’s theory was right—Vermeer was a copier.

But why would a painting—a painting that absolutely no one disputes is a copy of someone else’s painting!—fetch $10 million?

That’s a good question.

Via Jason Kottke, This Is Not a Vermeer ™ — The Message — Medium

So far (part two) it's an interesting article about authenticity, duplicity and duplication. What, exactly, makes a copy of painting worth $10,000,000, and where you too, can get your own copy of a painting for way less then $10,000,000.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Notes on a conversation held during a fireworks show





[And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,/Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there]






“Hey, watch this!”


[Hollywood!  No person was harmed during the making of this photograph]

“Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow!”


“Stop! Drop! Roll!”




“Are you okay?”

“Yeah … tis but a minor burn. Man, that was fun! Let's do it again!”

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Tim's Vermeer

Bunny and I watched “Tim's Vermeer.”

In the documentary, Tim Jenison, wanted to paint a Vermeer, and he decided upon The Music Lesson. Now Tim is an engineer, an inventor and computer programmer. He is not an artist, and most certainly not a painter.

And he didn't just copy from the The Music Lesson painting. No, he recreated the entire room as it appears in the painting. He then mixed his own paints by hand—and by hand I mean “ground up the constiuent compounds and oils that made up paints in the 17th century.”

He then went on to grind his own lenses and mirrors, all to test a theory that Vermeer might have used some mechanical means of painting near-photorealistic paintings in the 17th century.

The results were spectacular! Tim, a non-artist, making a painting that rivals Vermeer himself.

It's worth watching to see the techique in action (the painting itself took about three to four months to do) and for the subtle visual clues that were found to exist in actual Vermeer paintings that show Vermeer might have used such a method.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

In pieces

Our friend Kurt, Bunny and I headed to the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood (Florida) for the Art of Nathan Sawaya featuring IN PIECES, a collection of sculptures made from Lego bricks.

[Yup, this is your typical art museum in Florida] [Little fluffy clouds] [Oh, so that's what my face looks like on the inside!] [He could have been a contender if he just wasn't boxed in] [Lego skulls are the rage—crystal skulls are just so passé these days] [It makes for a remarkedly quiet and clean pet] [I can't believe I ate the whole thing!]

Each sculpture was also used in a photograph by Australian photographer Dean West. I didn't really bother with taking pictures of the pictures, beacuse, well, taking a picture of a picture is just silly talk.

Besides, we came for the Lego bricks, not pictures of Lego bricks.

[Portrait of the artist as Lego bricks] [This towel has just a tad too much starch in it] [The arm, the leg, and the pedistal are all Lego] [I'm crushing your head!] [The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire!]

Mr. Sawaya used kragle to hold the bricks together instead of just relying upon the inherent “snapness” (and I'm sure, to help keep everything together during transport—I mean, the instruction sheet for his self-portrait would rival the documentation to fully understand the Mac computer) and frankly, I don't think the clouds would fully stand up (or rather, float up) without the extensive use of kragle. I don't think the kragle use diminishes anything.

If you are near Hollywood, Florida, you should probably check it out while you still can.

Selling out, part deux

Five years ago, I sold some advertising space on my blog and frankly, I think I got the worse end of the deal. For five years (until June 10th of this year) I sold ads on seven posts, all for the huge amount of $105.00.

Hey, at least I negotiated him out of permanent placement for $75.00.

Given the ads, and their placement, I knew that the seller had no intention for anyone ever seeing the ads—he (and it was a “he”) just wanted to leech some Google PageRank to his sites (or his clients' sites), and he wanted it done stealthily because he didn't like my heading of “Paid Advertisement” and instead suggested:

as a header, because

See, we are doing every thing for search engines and thats why we want to place links at the bottom of the pages, where the traffic has to be lower. The search engines dont like words advertisement or Sponsor, so, that will hurt your site as well as our sites.

That's why, we dont need paragraphs with the heading of words “Advertisement” or “Sponsor.”

So, please use anyother word or make it image with out Alt Tag.

I countered with:

We finally settled on “And now some words from <company name>” but I did add a subtle background image of a dollar bill, and labeled the <DIV> with “paid_ad”.

Now, earlier this year, I received the following email from a potential advertiser:

Advertising on
Sat, 25 Jan 2014 12:43:44 +0800


I'd like to inquire if it's possible to purchase adverting space on your website.

If there is any space available please let me know and we could discuss further details.

Looking forward to your positive reply.

Warm regards,
Helena Jones

I get emails like this from time to time, and usually, I just ignore it and never hear from them again. But a month later …

Fwd: Advertising on
Fri, 21 Feb 2014 09:56:46 +0800


I just wanted to check if you got my email about buying advertising space on your site. Looking forward to hear from you.

Best regards,
Helena Jones

[previous email she sent cut]

Hmm … okay, she's persistent. Let's see what the terms are.

Sean Conner <>
Re: Fwd: Advertising on
Thu, 20 Feb 2014 21:47:09 -0500

It depends upon the advertising you want, and the pages you want to place the ads on. I'm not averse to the idea of advertising. What did you have in mind?


And a few days later I receive:

Advertising on
Sun, 23 Feb 2014 17:50:34 +0200


my name is Adam Barney and I'm working with Helena Jones She sent you an email about advertising on your site

I represent a few gambling sites and I would like to make a permanent article in your site. I can assure you I have a brilliant writer and the article will fit the content of your site.

If it possible let me know your price for it

Best Regards,

Adam Barney
Senior Marketing Manager | XXXX XXXXXX

Ah, the punctuation deficient. [facepalm] And gambling sites. [double facepalm] And a brilliant writer to boot! [is a triple facepalm possible?] Okay, I have really lost interest in this. But at the same time, I'm curious as to what brilliance this author can bring to bear about gambling sites that would enhance the content of my website (and bear in mind, I have no idea if he's talking about or So, let's see how serious this Adam is.

Sean Conner <>
Re: Advertising on
Mon, 24 Feb 2014 02:42:37 -0500

It was thus said that the Great Adam Barney once stated:


my name is Adam Barney and I'm working with Helena Jones She sent you an email about advertising on your site

I represent a few gambling sites and I would like to make a permanent article in your site. I can assure you I have a brilliant writer and the article will fit the content of your site.

If it possible let me know your price for it

Without any other knowledge about the article (and not an advertisement), and making it permanent (seeing how I've had the domain since 1998, it could be a long time), at this point in time, with just the information given, I would have to set the price at $100,000.

I am interested in seeing how your article could fit in with the existing content of my site.


I never did hear back from Adam.

Color me surprised.

And yeah, this is probably a site you don't want to advertise on.

Obligatory Picture

[I'm wearing a goatee—I must be my evil twin brother.]

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

You have my permission to link freely to any entry here. Go ahead, I won't bite. I promise.

The dates are the permanent links to that day's entries (or entry, if there is only one entry). The titles are the permanent links to that entry only. The format for the links are simple: Start with the base link for this site:, then add the date you are interested in, say 2000/08/01, so that would make the final URL:

You can also specify the entire month by leaving off the day portion. You can even select an arbitrary portion of time.

You may also note subtle shading of the links and that's intentional: the “closer” the link is (relative to the page) the “brighter” it appears. It's an experiment in using color shading to denote the distance a link is from here. If you don't notice it, don't worry; it's not all that important.

It is assumed that every brand name, slogan, corporate name, symbol, design element, et cetera mentioned in these pages is a protected and/or trademarked entity, the sole property of its owner(s), and acknowledgement of this status is implied.

Copyright © 1999-2014 by Sean Conner. All Rights Reserved.

Listed on BlogShares