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.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

It is now 61 AA

It was 61 years ago today that the first nuclear bomb was tested, thus making it 61 AA (link via wcg).


Viva Lost Wages

Besides being 61 years since Oppenheimer became Shiva, it was one year ago today that I flew out to Las Vegas with my friend Hoade.

I must not have finished Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince since I haven't finished (or even started) the write up of the trip. I still have the notes, on 88 5×3″ pages (a small wirebound notebook).

Penny slots no longer
take pennies but
nickels. They are being
phased out for more money
making machines.

595 Prime rib
    Salad
    potato

pix 42–43 Carpet of
Hôtel San Réno [mispelled in notebook, it's supposed to be Rémo —Editor]


Dancing Bartenders
Centerfuge @
  MGM Grand.

Notes from page 18 of “Viva Lost Wages!” notebook

[Yes, all casinos have carpet like this]

pix 42 mentioned above

[I think it's designed to confuse people]

pix 43 mentioned above

I really need to finish up writing about the trip, which included a sidetrip to Rachel, Nevada which was eerily quiet (quiet enough to hear our shoes squeaking as we walked). I also forgot about the Chinese cook who threatened us with his mad martial knife arts at the Hôtel San Rémo buffet.

I really need to get this written up.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Snippits from Lost Wages

I have yet to start writing about my trip to Las Vegas last year. So to hopefully encourage me, today's snippit is from one year ago today:

[There's an arrow that starts at the top of the page, past the first paragraph and pointing to the second paragraph. I don't know how to simulate it here, so I'm describing it—it is an important part of the notes though, as you'll see. —Editor]

I tried a quarter machine
(quarter from Hoade). I go
to pull the arm. Nothing.
I have to press the button.


Before the above, Hoade
puts a quarter in a slot machine
and hits the button. I berate
him for not pulling the arm.


The one arm bandits take
your money, and the arm
doesn't even work!


Hoade paid 50¢ for
Friday's newspaper. [It was a Sunday when I wrote this note —Editor]

Notes from page 21 of “Viva Lost Wages” notebook

This was the day we visited some Buddhist temples in the area. At one of the temples I lost an argument with some scrub brush across the street and spent the next hour or so picking needles out of my arm and legs.

[Ouch]

Later in the day, we ended up in the Luxor, the pyramid shaped hotel at the southern end of the Strip. While there, we snuck aboard the “inclinators” (which move both up-down and left-right along the edges of the building) and managed to get a few vertigo-inducing photographs.

[Floor 24 looking out into the hotel]

Life, wheat, mildew

From
"Judson Combs" <JudsonCombs@0733.com>
To
sean@conman.org
Subject
Life, wheat mildew
Date
Mon, 17 Jul 2006 19:12:28 0000

Your cre dit doesn't matter to us! If you OWN real est ate and want IMMEDIATE5 cash to spend ANY way you like, or simply …

The spam itself is nothing special, but for some reason, I love the subject line—“Life, wheat mildew” although I think it would scan better with the addition of a comma: “Life, wheat, mildew.”

What a cool thought: Life, wheat, mildew.

Yes, at times I am easily amused.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Snippits from Lost Wages

Still have yet to get the write up started, so yet another snippit from notes I took:

Road [US-93 in Nevada —Editor] actually has more
traffic than I expected.


Stuck in traffic just outside
Alamo—doing a slow 30mph
A wide load spanning both
lanes is slowing us down


Bumper to bumper traffic
outside Alamo—400 population.
Rush hour 8:30am


Alamo has a motel
with showers and telephone.

Notes from page 36 of “Viva Lost Wages” notebook

Yup, we hit rush hour traffic in a town of 400 along US-93 with only two towns between Las Vegas and the turn to Rachel.

[Even out here there's traffic!]

Rush hour traffic just outside Alamo, Nevada

But once we hit the Extraterrestrial Highway the traffic cleared up and it was smooth sailing to Rachel, Nevada.

[Yup, the road just kind of vanishes like that]

The road to nowhere Rachel, Nevada.

Along the way, we passed one of the access roads to the mysterious Area 51, which in this case, is a one lane dirt road heading off into nowhere (in the photo below, it's the white line on the right side of the picture).

[Abandon all hope, ye who enter here]

Area 51 is just beyond the mountains in the distance, at the end of the dirt road.

We nearly missed Rachel as it's a small cluster of trailers on the south side of State 375 (aka “The Extraterrestrial Highway”) with only three permanent buildings, one being the Little A'Le'Inn, one being the gas station/super market (who's proprietor drives into Las Vegas each week and buys supplies from Wal★Mart) and the third being a thrift store/community center.

[Earthlings welcome]

The infamous Little A'Le'Inn.

[The vast supermarket in Rachel]

The Gas Station/Supermarket

[Dig the old style gas pump, back when gas was below $1/gallon]

The old style gas pump. So old it doesn't have display dollars, hence the handwritten “2.” Gas was $2.89/gallon (this was last year—it's probably higher this year).

For me, this was probably the highlight of the trip, even though we only spent about an hour, hour and a half in Rachel. The next time I'm in Nevada, I would definitely like to spend more time out here.


Wil “Not William Shatner” Wheaton

[Take two. First time through, the keyboard got stuck in uppercase that some how survived a reboot. It took a powercycle to get the keyboard unstuck. Go figure. —Editor]

It's funny.

Wil Wheaton is currently in Las Vegas, one year after I was there. Hoade and I had just missed World Series of Poker when we went, which probably explains this entry on page 22 of the “Viva Lost Wages” notebook: “I don't think we'll be running into Wil Wheaton anytime soon.” It would have been quite funny to go up to him and mistake him for William XXXXXXX Shatner.


Postfix, Dovecot and Ravencore! Oh my!

I think I've finally calmed down.

Rough day at “The Office” (even if it was from home). SMTP authentication problems, control panels and horrible documentation.

Let's see … can't uninstall the control panel probably because I modified it so that it would actually work with the Apache installation, which means I couldn't reinstall it with the updated versions of Postfix and Dovecot since the system installed versions do not support SMTP authentication (with Postfix providing the SMTP part, and Dovecot providing the authentication portion). Finally had to upgrade to the latest version, uninstall that, upgrade Postfix and Dovecot, reinstall Ravencore and still have it fail (although I figured out the immensely bizarre method Ravencore uses to store the Postfix configuaration file, and the cached copy of the Dovecot configuration file so at least using Ravencore won't break SMTP authentication).

Then there was getting Dovecot to authenticate not against /etc/passwd but another password file. Turns out you need to specify the file twice under different options:

auth default {
  
  passdb passwd-file {
	args = /etc/dovecot-passwd
  }

  userdb passwd-file {
	args = /etc/dovecot-passwd
  }
}

Yeah, I don't understand it either.

Postfix wasn't a problem—good documentation there. The only problem with it was Ravencore overwriting the configuration file with its own copy without the proper SMTP authentication settings. It was just a matter of tetting the proper settings into the bizarre format Ravencore uses to store the Postfix configuration (each line gets its own file—sigh).

Hours! (You paying attention, Smirk? Hours!)

Update on Wednesday, July 19th, 2006

Smirk just called to remind me that I was the one that picked Ravencore. So there you have it.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Wynn: the Disneyfication of European Elegance

Power outtage @
Rio just as dinner
was ending. Very dark
and quiet.


XXXXXXX XXXXX
    XXXXXXX.[What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. And that's all I'll say about this note. —Editor]


The Wynn: the Disneyfication
of European Elegance.

Notes from page 44 of the “Viva Lost Wages” notebook

Upon returning from Rachel, Nevada, Hoade and I met with my Dad (who drove in from Palm Springs, California to meet us) and we headed off to the Carnival World Buffet at the Rio for dinner.

The buffet was huge and we spent quite a bit of time running around gathering food and stuffing our faces. Just as we were getting ready to leave the power at the Rio goes out.

Casinos are never quiet—at the very least there is the background radiation of a casino is the constant din of “Money money money money money” from the slot machines (next time you're there—just listen to them—I swear they say “Money money money money money”) and the they're lit so you can easily make your way through the maze of beckoning gambling games, but a dark and silent casino?

Nothing is scarier than a dark and quiet casino. For perhaps a full ten to fifteen seconds there's total quiet then the slot zombies come shambling out. “Slots …. slooooottttttsssssss.” Fortunately for us, we had the buffet chairs to fend off the slot zombies as we made our way outside.

The title for this installment comes from the observation I made about The Wynn, where we headed to calm down after the attack of the slot zombies. Yes, the Wynn is very elegant. But it has this … Disneyesque feel about the place. Heck, most of modern Las Vegas has this Disneyesque feel about it, now that I think about it.


Snippits from Lost Wages

What was interesting about this day last year is that I have the most notes (a full twenty pages) from today, but that Hoade and I really didn't do anything today. We hung around the hotel room for several hours, then went out to visit a bunch of casinos the in the area.

[That's the Bellagio in the background]

Hoade in front of Disneyesque European Elegance.

Guy sleeping in the doorway of
the unused entryway of the
restaurant. Dad and I had
breakfast.


The waitress was a bit snarky.


Kid on a leash. What is that
telling the kid? What does that
say about the parent? Why
would parents bring kids to
this place [Las Vegas —Editor] anyway?


Plane after plane after plane
is landing at the airport.
I've seen a dozen planes in
a few moments.

Notes from page 45 of the “Viva Lost Wages” notebook

I think we were both getting burned out by this point, as we had already done everything we wanted to do on this working vacation (Hoade came to Las Vegas as research for a book he was writing. Since he's never been and I had, he tagged me to come along with him).

[And there's a bit of a faux Paris in the back ground. Much like Disney.]

Me, in front some Disneyesque European Elegance.

A really large and obnoxious
American is bitching about the
size of the $595 prime rib.
He is about as tall standing as
he is lying down.


I may have to write a simulation
of Keno, just to get a feel for
the odds. Although the payouts
are probably the odds.


Hoade and I pretended to play
Keno. 20 # out of 80 are selected
the player can select up to 15.
There is a variation where you
win quite a lot for getting
0 #s. Hoade and I still
lost.

Notes from page 46 of the “Viva Lost Wages” notebook

Most of the notes I took today were personal in nature, observations about Las Vegas, the band playing at the Hôtel San Rémo that night, that type of thing.

Thoughts on Vegas:

Notes from page 60 of the “Viva Lost Wages” notebook.

That last note reminds me of Easter Island—the natives built larger and larger heads to bring favor back from the gods as their habitat slowly died around them.

Yup, this day was a rather depressing day in Las Vegas.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Snippits from Lost Wages

It was one year ago today that Hoade and I spent our last day in Las Vegas. We checked out early, but had an entire day to kill, seeing how our flight didn't leave until 10:40pm.

One of the towels at the
Hôtel San Rémo is from
Harrahs.


[Hoade and I decide to take the stairs down instead of the elevator. —Editor]
The stairs going down only
go to the second floor, then
lead outside. Hoade and I
run into someone else who was
lost within the utility
Jeffries Tubes of the Hôtel
San Rémo.


Going down to the lobby,
I got into the elevator. Inside
were two elevator engineers.
The door would close, then
open. Three times. By the
time we finally started
down, one said, “We're
not responsible for these
elevators. We're working on
the building next door.”


Checking out, the guy [the desk clerk –Editor] said
“There is still four ninety-
five.” Is that 400 and
95 dollars? What? It was
$495, for the hour of Internet
Hoade used.

Notes from pages 67–68 of the “Viva Lost Wages” notebook

The Hôtel San Rémo was under construction at the time, being turned into the Hooter's Casino, and the day we left the elevators were a bit “problematic.” After checking out and bidding adieu to the hotel, we then headed out to Hoover Dam.

We ended up parking on the Arizona side of Hoover Dam, walking down several flights of stairs (embedded in the landscape) and walking across to the Nevada side to check out the Tourist Center.

[The thing is immense]

Hoover Dam, from the Arizona side looking over to the Nevada side.

[Water collection towers]

The backside of Hoover Dam (taken from the Arizona side).

[Lake Meade is looking a bit low]

That white stripe signifies the old water level of Lake Meade.

After looking around it was late morning and the temperature was rising. We nearly collapsed on the way back to the car; having to climb several flights of stairs damn near killed us.

The trip out to Hoover Dam killed the morning, but that still left the afternoon and evening to kill.

[There it is.]

So. Nevada University. There it is.

I just like the picture.

Lunch. Drove about an hour to the very edge of Las Vegas (northwest corner) and killed a few hours in a book store. Then back towards the airport, dinner, then a few hours at the terminal.

I was lucky however, to get an upgrade to First Class (for both legs of the trip home) for only $100. Yup, I took it and yes, First Class is much nicer than coach, although the weather back was bad, so there wasn't much to look at out the window, and given the time of day, I ended up sleeping most of the way home.

Oh, and did I mention
the pillows? Hoade is
really going to hate me.


And there are television
screens, but I don't know
if that is a 757 thing
or a 757-1st C [class —Editor] thing.


Fortunately, I have a headset.
God, I could actually like flying.


I am certainly happy to be
going home. I think I will
close today out here. It's
past midnight @ home.

Notes from page 75 of the “Viva Lost Wages” notebook


Of limited interest

John Molino and Patricia Warren formed an Arizona internet company, the Free Yellow Pages Corporation, in 1997. Relations soured between them. Molino negotiated to buy out Warren's interest. Without reaching a final agreement with Warren, Molino moved the assets of the company to Florida. There, he incorporated a similar company, FreeYellow.com, Inc. He transferred the assets of the Free Yellow Pages Corporation to FreeYellow.com, without paying any compensation to Warren or the original company. Warren had a strong claim to a 50 percent beneficial ownership interest in FreeYellow.com and its assets because it was essentially the same business as the Free Yellow Pages Corporation. Nevertheless, when Go2Net sought to acquire FreeYellow.com in 1999, Molino represented that he was the sole owner. …

Go2Net and Molino finalized the merger agreement near the end of October 1999. About two months later, Warren contacted Go2Net and informed them that she was a 50 percent shareholder of FreeYellow.com's predecessor corporation. She demanded that Go2Net cease using FreeYellow.com's property until resolution of the matter. It is unclear whether, and how, Warren's demands against Molino and Go2Net were ultimately resolved. Go2Net's immediate reaction to Warren's claim was to negotiate with Molino over the course of nine months for the protection of a larger escrow account, while at the same time advising Molino that Go2Net was 'prepared to pursue all rights and remedies available to it.' The negotiations seemed promising at first but ultimately failed in September 2000, when Molino informed Go2Net that he did not intend to enter into an escrow agreement. Molino demanded $16 million from Go2Net. Go2Net did not complete the registration of Molino's Go2Net stock, and Molino was not able to sell it.

Go2net, Inc., Res./Cross-App. v. Freeyellow.com, Inc., App/Cross-Res.

Unless the name “John Molino” means anything to you, don't bother reading this. On the other hand, if it does (and I know a few of my readers will be interested in this), then this will make for some facinating reading.


Too much time on his hands

In these days of “fast” and “convenient” I decided to commence a work of “painstaking” and “craftsmanship”, making my own wristwatch. I have had the idea for a certain arrangement of the watch dial, as on the image at the right, for a while now. My investigations into available movements showed that no production movement would give me this layout. After a long period of indecision and wondering what I was really getting myself into I decided to make my own movement, followed by the case and dial.

Via The Mess That Greenspan Made, Making a Watch by Hand

I also have a few readers that might be interested in making a wrist watch by hand. I personally would have gone with a pocket watch, but that's me.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Snippits from Lost Wages

Technically, the last day of the trip, although I technically wasn't in Las Vegas, or even Nevada, but aproximately 37,000 feet above the United States sitting in First Class.

Wow, the steward call
button worked though. [Neither the light nor the radio worked in my seat, dispite being in First Class. —Editor]


I will definitely be
processing this trip
for a while to come. [A year anyone? —Editor]


We flew over a thunderstorm.
Very beautiful. And frightening
not that we were in any position
to get hit but the disg ts
display of raw power. And
so frequent too.

Notes from page 83 of the “Viva Lost Wages” notebook

And flying over a thunderstorm reminded me of a time years before when I was flying home (from Hoade's wedding) on July 4th at night. The weather was clear and from about 35,000 feet I was able to see hundreds of firework shows dotting the landscape. Little flower explosions popping all over the place.

Both the storm and the firework shows were wonderful to watch from above.

I arrived at West Palm Beach around noon on the 21st and very happy to finally be home.

And thus ends the “Snippits from Lost Wages.”

Obligatory Picture

[It's the most wonderful time of the year!]

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: http://boston.conman.org/, then add the date you are interested in, say 2000/08/01, so that would make the final URL:

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