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.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Another attempt to photograph dinner

Bunny and I had dinner at The Stable Café, which is located in the former stables of Biltore House. We had a night time tour planned and we decided to have dinner there on the estate before the tour.

[Darn it! I can never remember to take a picture of dinner prior to eating it. Oh well, another in a long line of empty dinner plates.]

The food was quite good and given the location,

[It's hard to believe that we're not at some French chateau sipping fine wine and eating Brie.]

the price was very reasonable.


Glass & Stone, Light & Dark

The “stone” refers to Biltmore, the largest private home in the United States.

[I feel it's more imposing at night.]

The “glass” is the works of Dale Chihuly, reknowned glass blower. Bunny and I have had a years-long discussion about Chihuly and his “works.” He doesn't do the actual work, he just signs his name to the works, as well as the paychecks to the artisans who do the actual work of blowing glass. In that regard, he's like Thomas Edison, taking credit for the work of his employees. Edison didn't personally try over 5,000 different materials for light bulb filaments; no, it was an army of unknown engineers who tried over 5,000 different materials for light bulb filaments. And it's the same for Chihuly—his name goes on the works.

Bunny's argument is that Chihuly does the design work, which is the important part. Now, whether he does the work himself, or has an automated computerized glass-blowing machine or an army of artists blowing their lungs out, it's the vision of Chihuly that's important, not how the actual work is carried out. And to a degree I can buy that argument—that the art is more than just the method used to create it.

But regardless of who does the work, we came to Biltmore for the Chihuly At Night exhibit (thus the “light” and “dark” reference to the title). And man, it is impressive.

[I'm just glad I didn't have to put this thing together.]

A small portion of the display was in the main house:

[The sunroom has been overtaken by alien glass plants.]

But the majority of the works were outside.

[Um ... I think drops are supposed to fall downward, not towards the ceiling.] [I think this is supposed to invoke the image of candlesticks in holly.] [A garden of glass.] [It would make a wonderful Christmas Tree ornament except you would need a hundred foot tree to hang it from.] [It rises from the lake like ... um ... glass monster from the lake?  I don't know, I'm out of words here.]

It's unfortunate that these pictures do not do the works justice—the colors are way deeper and more vibrant than what you see here.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Extreme white squirrels, Brevard edition

Bunny and I were walking along Main Street in Brevard when we came across one of its famous white squirrels:

[That squirrel sure has some large ... acorns.]

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Extreme government secret alien guitars, Brevard edition

Near the outskirts of Brevard, is a small store selling unique guitars.

[On the downside, the guitars are tuned to a 17 note octave because the Green-greys like dissonant atonal music.]

At this time I cannot divulge the location of said store, as there are three Men in Black sitting across the street from me, watching …

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Extreme lawn ornaments part II, Brevard edition

The cows are still there.
[One cow ignored me, the other cow wanted nothing to do with me. Those plastic cows are so tempremental.]

Friday, October 05, 2018

Extreme metal chickens, Fletcher edition

Bunny and I drove to Smiley's Flea Market in Fletcher, NC (just south of Asheville). Smiley's advertises that they're open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, but it didn't appear that way to us:

[We're open. Yes, indeed we are open. Please come and shop?  We're desperate here for business. No, really!  We're open!]

We did, however, come across this impressive matal rooster in a stall that might have been open?

[He needs no motivation to cross the road.]

It was hard to say since the place appeared devoid of people.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Extreme Rusty Waterfalls, Lake Toxaway edition

On the way to Cashiers, NC for an art festival, as we passed the The Falls Café and Grill in Lake Toxaway we decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, we needed to turn around as it came up rather suddenly as we were coming around a curve on the two-lane road. I found the first available road to turn onto, hoping to find a spot to turn around. The road I turned on was a twisty, high-grade one-lane road where I had to drive nearly a mile before I found a driveway to turn myself around. On reflection, I'm surprised I never encountered another car going the other direction, as backing up was not an option.

The Falls Café and Grill was good, but the view was fantastic:

[They really need to use WD-40 on those falls before the entire thing rusts closed.]

The art festival in Cashiers was good—worth the drive, but nothing extreme lept out at me while there.


Have scissors, will shear

So I received this wonderful piece of spam today:

From
Richard Kalou <barristerjustinfrank@gmail.com>
To
undisclosed-recipients:;
Subject
I am Richard Kalou by Name,I have an important issue to shear with you So get back to me urgently through my email ( richardkalou77@gmail.com )
Date
Sat, 6 Oct 2018 17:28:34 +0000

And tht's it. No explanation. Just the subject line stating that Richard has an important issue involving sheep. Or alpacas, I think you shear those, right?

So Richard has an important issue with alpacas—llamas! You can also shear llamas! So it's an issue involving sheep, alpacas or harmonic llamas that I need to urgently write back to Richard.

The only thing is—I don't know how to shear!.

Sorry, Richard, I can't help you.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Extreme benches, Brevard edition

[This is one special snowflake of a bench.]

Gah! I'm repeating myself!

That picture of the large white squirrel I took Tuesday? Yeah, that's the same white squirrel I took Thursday last year. I can't believe I'm repeating myself!

Ah!

Monday, October 08, 2018

Extreme swings, Brevard edition

[My uncle placed me on a bicycle with no training wheels and shoved hard. On one side a yard filled with divots. On the other side a busy four lane road. I learned to ride a bike in three days out of self defense. A swing next to a major road does not phase me. In fact, I think that this would build character.]

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Extreme wait times, Brevard edition

While walking to downtown Brevard for lunch, we passed by Marco Trattoria. It seems to be a popular place for lunch, given the long wait for a table:

[“Um ... hello? Is there a table ready yet? I'm a bit parched.”]

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Extreme TARDIS, Brevard edition

In downtown Brevard there's a store called Mantiques:

[This isn't any antique store, this is a MANtique store! Aaaaaaarrrrrrh!]

And in the store they had something I'd thought I'd never see—a TARDIS!

[This one must be using the  Victorian control room. I wonder if Tom Baker is near by?]

Sure, it may look like a call box, but I know better.


“It has a slight kick to it”

For the past few months, each time Bunny and I have gone to a Buffalo Wing joint, I had decided to try the hottest sauce available just to see how hot they were. Despite having names like “Ghost Habanero Death Flame” or “Last Rights Hot Sauce” about the best I could say was “it has a slight kick.”

But today Bunny and I tried Zaxby's, a chain Buffalo Wing joint that hasn't quite made it down to Chez Boca. As is my wont, I decided to try their hottest sauce, “Insanity.” Our order taker actually said “Good choice!” when I picked it.

Wow!

I don't think I've ever had my eyes water like that. It wasn't so hot (for me) as to be impossible to eat, but it had a strong hum of heat that came close to being impossible to eat.

What a nice surprise for a change.


Guess who's blowing past us?

Hurricane Michael did not hit Chez Boca (it skipped Lower Sheol entirely) and it's not expected to hit us here in Brevard and yet, it is already affecting our trip.

We were planning on leaving tomorrow, but tomorrow, Hurriane Michael will be Tropical Storm Michael and will be moving over the very area we would be driving through.

Bunny and I do not want to drive through a Tropical Storm.

Sigh.

So we've extended our stay here in Brevard by one day. On the down side, we can't extend our stay at the The Red House Inn as our room is already booked for the next guest, which saddens me because I am so going to miss siting on this porch.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Extreme phones, Brevard edition

Because of the extra day in Brevard (and the rain, oh it's been raining all day today!) here's another picture from Mantiques:

[For the average user, this is just as easy to use as the VMS command line.]

It doesn't quite seem as elegant as the classical TARDIS console.


I've got to start thinking about what to write for the upcoming NaNoGenMo

AI-generated language shows more of Nakawaza's machine aesthetic. US internet artist Darius Kozemi launched the annual NaNoGenMo contest in 2013 – instead of writing a novel during November (NaNoWriMo) entries of 50,000 words have to be generated by a program. "What I want to see is code that produces alien novels that astound us with their sheer alien-ness," he has said. "Computers writing novels for computers, in a sense."

Past entries include The Psychotherapy of Racter or The Descent into Madness of Dr Eliza, in which two chatbots asked each other questions. Dial "S" for Sudoku's 50,000 words told of "Alice" solving eight Sudoku puzzles at length plus excerpts from her dream diary.

Artificial still life: Artist Robert Todonai programs robot to paint an original | afr.com

My “novel” of 2015's NaNoGenMo The Psychotherapy of Racter or The Descent into Madness of Dr Eliza was mentioned in The Financial Review. I'm thinking only because of the name, because I certainly didn't finish it.

And this reminds me, I have to think up an idea for this years NaNoGenMo …

Saturday, October 13, 2018

There and back again

Friday was an absolutely beautiful day to drive—clear blue skies as far as the eye could see. Bunny and I checked out of the hotel at 11:00 AM and started the drive to WNC Farmers Market to pick up some fresh produce before driving home. The WNC Farmers Market is right off I-26 so it wasn't like we were going that far out of our way.

Only the traffic to the WNC Farmers Market was slow. Man, it took us much longer to get there than expected, and then we had to muck about with finding an ATM because some of the farmers at the WNC Farmers Market don't accept plastic. So there was some time lost there. Soon after that, we started the drive home.

The first 19 miles took us well over an hour to drive. For some reason we never were keen to, half of I-26 Eastbound was blocked off between Asheville and Hendersonville. It was a portent of things to come.

Our fantastic time of 11½ hours to Brevard was countered by our worst time of 13½ hours from Brevard. Traffic along I-26 was horrendous as much as the weather was wonderful. But we made it back and now we recuperate from our vacation.


Extreme general interest reading, Brevard edition

The photos I present of Brevard are the ones I tend to find whimsical or surreal, and when not repeating myself, I hope I have done a good job. It's not everyday that one comes across a bear wearing a hat:

[Remember, only you can prevent forest rangers.  Only you.]

I decided against posting that one because, let's be frank, when you come across a bear wearing a wig and a dress, a hat-wearing bear just doesn't cut it anymore, you know?

But during this trip, I took a photo that was so out there, that I hesitated to post it. Mind you, I don't go that much out of my way when I take these pictures—I see these weird and (usually) wonderful things as I'm out and about and take a picture.

It's with this in mind that I found myself in a grocery store in Brevard. I'm not going to name names but be aware that there are at least three different grocery store companies operating in Brevard. So I'm in this grocery store when I come across … well … this:

[Seriously, this blew my mind.  Um ... pun unintended.]

If you click on the picture, you'll see what this grocery store thinks passes for “General Interest” magazine reading in this part of the country. Had this section been labeled “Hunting” I would have just walked on by without a second thought.

But “General Interest?”

This may be the most surreal picture I took on any trip to Brevard, cross-dressing bear included (even if it's a female bear, I would still consider it “cross-dressing” as it's wearing clothing not native to its species). In fact, I find the cross-dressing bear less disturbing because at least it was an intentional Hallowe'en display. The “General Interest” reading rack? If that's intentional, I'm not sure what it says about the grocery store or the area. And if it's unintentional … I … I'm still not sure what that says about the grocery store or the area.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Tumbling through code, part III

I was going through my logs (I've been vacation for the past two weeks) and I noticed a few crashes of mod_blog. It was easy enough to determine that a call to assert() was the culpret (the clue is highlighted):

CRASH(32421/000): pid=32421 signal='Aborted'
CRASH(32421/001): reason='Unspecified/untranslated error'
CRASH(32421/002): CS=B7EA0073 DS=007B ES=007B FS=0000 GS=0033
CRASH(32421/003): EIP=B7FE87A2 EFL=00000246 ESP=BFF9AE28 EBP=BFF9AE3C ESI=00007EA5 EDI=B7FAFFF4
CRASH(32421/004): EAX=00000000 EBX=00007EA5 ECX=00007EA5 EDX=00000006
CRASH(32421/005): UESP=BFF9AE28 TRAPNO=00000000 ERR=00000000
CRASH(32421/006): STACK DUMP
CRASH(32421/007):        BFF9AE28:  A5 07 EB B7 00 00 00 00 F4 FF FA B7 00 00 00 00
CRASH(32421/008):        BFF9AE38:  C0 86 E8 B7 6C AF F9 BF 09 22 EB B7 06 00 00 00
CRASH(32421/009):        BFF9AE48:  50 AE F9 BF 00 00 00 00 20 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
CRASH(32421/010):        BFF9AE58:  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
CRASH(32421/011):        BFF9AE68:  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
CRASH(32421/012):        BFF9AE78:  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
CRASH(32421/013):        BFF9AE88:  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
CRASH(32421/014):        BFF9AE98:  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
CRASH(32421/015):        BFF9AEA8:  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
CRASH(32421/016):        BFF9AEB8:  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
CRASH(32421/017):        BFF9AEC8:  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 C7 04 FB B7 C8 04 FB B7
CRASH(32421/018):        BFF9AED8:  F4 FF FA B7 C7 04 FB B7 80 04 FB B7 08 AF F9 BF
CRASH(32421/019):        BFF9AEE8:  28 85 CA 08 F4 FF FA B7 9F 70 EE B7 02 00 00 00
CRASH(32421/020):        BFF9AEF8:  C8 78 CA 08 4C 00 00 00 C8 78 CA 08 4C 00 00 00
CRASH(32421/021):        BFF9AF08:  44 AF F9 BF EC 72 EE B7 80 04 FB B7 C8 78 CA 08
CRASH(32421/022):        BFF9AF18:  4C 00 00 00 27 00 00 00 C7 04 FB B7 00 00 00 00
CRASH(32421/023): STACK TRACE
CRASH(32421/024):        /home/spc/web/sites/boston.conman.org/htdocs/boston.cgi[0x805ccf0]
CRASH(32421/025):        /home/spc/web/sites/boston.conman.org/htdocs/boston.cgi[0x805d46b]
CRASH(32421/026):        /lib/tls/libc.so.6[0xb7eb0890]
CRASH(32421/027):        /lib/tls/libc.so.6(abort+0xe9)[0xb7eb2209]
CRASH(32421/028):        /lib/tls/libc.so.6(__assert_fail+0x101)[0xb7ea9d91]
CRASH(32421/029):        /home/spc/web/sites/boston.conman.org/htdocs/boston.cgi(max_monthday+0x5a)[0x80595a2]
CRASH(32421/030):        /home/spc/web/sites/boston.conman.org/htdocs/boston.cgi(tumbler_new+0xbcb)[0x805aa5a]
CRASH(32421/031):        /home/spc/web/sites/boston.conman.org/htdocs/boston.cgi[0x8057f19]
CRASH(32421/032):        /home/spc/web/sites/boston.conman.org/htdocs/boston.cgi(main_cgi_get+0xbf)[0x8057c1a]
CRASH(32421/033):        /home/spc/web/sites/boston.conman.org/htdocs/boston.cgi(main+0x99)[0x804cb8d]
CRASH(32421/034):        /lib/tls/libc.so.6(__libc_start_main+0xd3)[0xb7e9dde3]
CRASH(32421/035):        /home/spc/web/sites/boston.conman.org/htdocs/boston.cgi[0x804ca6d]
CRASH(32421/036): COMMAND LINE
CRASH(32421/037):        /home/spc/web/sites/boston.conman.org/htdocs/boston.cgi
CRASH(32421/038): ENVIRONMENT
CRASH(32421/039):        REDIRECT_STATUS=200
CRASH(32421/040):        BLOG_CONFIG=/home/spc/web/sites/boston.conman.org/journal/boston.cnf
CRASH(32421/041):        HTTP_FROM=the.knowledge.ai@gmail.com
CRASH(32421/042):        HTTP_HOST=boston.conman.org
CRASH(32421/043):        HTTP_CONNECTION=Keep-Alive
CRASH(32421/044):        HTTP_USER_AGENT=The Knowledge AI
CRASH(32421/045):        HTTP_ACCEPT_ENCODING=gzip,deflate
CRASH(32421/046):        PATH=/sbin:/usr/sbin:/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/X11R6/bin
CRASH(32421/047):        SERVER_SIGNATURE=<address>Apache/2.0.52 (CentOS) Server at boston.conman.org Port 80</address> 
CRASH(32421/048):        SERVER_SOFTWARE=Apache/2.0.52 (CentOS)
CRASH(32421/049):        SERVER_NAME=boston.conman.org
CRASH(32421/050):        SERVER_ADDR=66.252.224.242
CRASH(32421/051):        SERVER_PORT=80
CRASH(32421/052):        REMOTE_ADDR=64.62.252.174
CRASH(32421/053):        DOCUMENT_ROOT=/home/spc/web/sites/boston.conman.org/htdocs
CRASH(32421/054):        SERVER_ADMIN=sean@conman.org
CRASH(32421/055):        SCRIPT_FILENAME=/home/spc/web/sites/boston.conman.org/htdocs/boston.cgi
CRASH(32421/056):        REMOTE_PORT=36622
CRASH(32421/057):        REDIRECT_URL=/2015/04-2015/
CRASH(32421/058):        GATEWAY_INTERFACE=CGI/1.1
CRASH(32421/059):        SERVER_PROTOCOL=HTTP/1.1
CRASH(32421/060):        REQUEST_METHOD=GET
CRASH(32421/061):        QUERY_STRING=
CRASH(32421/062):        REQUEST_URI=/2015/04-2015/
CRASH(32421/063):        SCRIPT_NAME=/boston.cgi
CRASH(32421/064):        PATH_INFO=/2015/04-2015/
CRASH(32421/065):        PATH_TRANSLATED=/home/spc/web/sites/boston.conman.org/htdocs/2015/04-2015/
CRASH(32421/066): DONE

The hard part was trying to figure out which of the three calls to assert() was being triggered. Fortunately, there was enough information logged to reproduce the error (for the record, it was assert(month < 13)). Unfortunately, it has to do with the tumbler parsing code.

One of the unique features of mod_blog is the “entry addressing scheme,” where you can address not only a single entry like 2018/10/14.1 but a range of entries like 2000/08/10.2-15.5. In fact, the same code internally changes a reference like 2018/09 to 2018/09/11.1-09/30.1 (the first and last entry in the given month; it also works for days and years). When I wrote the code, I had in mind a way of it working and the bug here is in my inattention to details in checking what I've received.

The code in question, when it sees a request in the form of “number / number - number” is to assume that the number after the literal “-” is a month and not a year. “The Knowledge AI” program was making a request of 2015/04-2015, and max_monthday() was being given an invalid month, thus the assert(month < 13) being false and triggering a crash. That I can fix.

But I do question the programming of the “The Knowledge AI” crawler. I don't have any links in that form, and I'm not aware of any links on other pages of that form (in fact, that particular feature of entry addressing is not used that often, even by me) so I have to wonder how it got a link like that? Does it try randomly generating links to see what it gets? A bug in their code? It's inexplicable.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

A blog post about blogging—how meta

I know I'm not blogging as much as I used to, but I was curious as to how much less blogging I'm doing. To that end, I calculated some figures and yes, it's depressing.

For instance, back in 2003:

Number of posts per month—2003
Month#posts
Jan 200334
Feb 200333
Mar 200320
Apr 200324
May 200328
Jun 200330
Jul 200325
Aug 200321
Sep 200323
Oct 200324
Nov 200319
Dec 200339

It was a fairly steady output of posts back then. Let's compare that to now:

A depressing number of posts per month—2018
Month#posts
Jan 20188
Feb 20188
Mar 20186
Apr 20182
May 20182
Jun 20181
Jul 201816
Aug 201811
Sep 20188
Oct 201821

Yeah, the best month of 2018 barly beats the worst month of 2003 (and that count for October includes this post). Looking over all the numbers, it appears that I seriously started slacking in 2010. The reason appears to be an uptick in work when I was working with Smirk, and then getting a “real job” a few months later (when I first encountered The Protocol Stack From Hell). The anomaly was 2015:

Not a bad number of posts per month—2015
Month#posts
Jan 201542
Feb 201537
Mar 201539
Apr 201536
May 201535
Jun 201538
Jul 201548
Aug 201539
Sep 201537
Oct 201541
Nov 201524
Dec 201523

I remember it feeling like work to post so much, but I like having written all those posts. Man, first world problems, right?

I think the aspect leading to this is My­Face­Google­Linked­In­Space­Book­Plus. A long time ago I added a feature to automatically post links to my blog to Facebook just so I didn't have to log in and manually update it with the link. Of course, the other Face­Google­Linked­My­Space­Book­Plus­In sites made it difficult to automate that, so I still had to manually add links to them. And then Facebook changed to maintain the status quo with the other Face­Google­Linked­My­Book­Plus­In­Space sites so now I'm stuck manually adding links to all the Linked­My­Face­Google­Plus­In­Space­Book sites.

Granted, I brought this upon myself by wanting to add links to Face­Google­Linked­My­Plus­In­Space­Book, but it's still a point of friction when updating this site. I would love it if it were all automated, but alas, the Linked­My­Face­Google­Plus­In­Space­Book's of the world want their walled gardens and XXXX the rest of the web. It is what it is.

I want to blog more. I do keep a backlog of entries I want to write, but getting the motivation to write is difficult.

Perhaps if I stop thinking about it, and Just Do It™ (do I now owe Nike royalties?).

Monday, October 29, 2018

Some notes about the music of Brevard

Just Do It™ (I now owe Nike royalties—sigh).

Back in June of 2017 I meant to write about “Not Enough,” a music video from Sarah Siskind that was filmed at The Sunset Motel, a place where Bunny and I stayed for a few days back in 2015. While the music isn't to my taste, it does seem to fit the ambiance of the motel quite well.

And then forward to December of 2017 when I wanted to mention “Strangest Christmas Yet,” a song by Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers. The band is from Brevard (and it's rumored that Steve Martin himself has a home nearby). The video was filmed in Brevard (pay attention to the white squirrels) and it's the silliness one would expect from Steve Martin.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Notes on an overheard conversation about a shocking situation

[They don't make them like they used to—this only lasted some 25 years before failing to unplug properly.]

“When I went to unplug the light socket from the outlet, one of the prongs pulled out and is still stuck in the outlet.”

“Oh man.”

“My baby brother said I could just yank it out no problem.”

“Sure, after you shut off the circuit breaker.”

“No, he said I didn't have to do that. As long as I'm not making a complete circuit I should be fine.”

“Yes, your brother would say that.”

“I do have some insulated pliers.”

“Want me to to pull it out?”

“Sure! Here you go.”

“Okay, where's the outlet?”

“Over there.”

“Oh, I see. Oh good, there's plenty to grab onto. What could possibly go wr—”

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

“This one and then that and this and then still another, and on up and around, three pumpkins here, seven pumpkins still higher, a dozen clustered beyond, a hundred, five hundred, a thousand pumpkins lit their candles …”

There must have been a thousand pumpkins on this tree, hung high and on every branch. A thousand smiles. A thousand grimaces. And twice-times-a-thousand glares and winks and blinks and leerings of fresh-cut eyes.

And as the boys watched, a new thing happened.

The pumpkins began to come alive.

One by one, starting at the bottom of the Tree and the nearest pumpkins, candles took fire within the raw interiors. This one and then that and this and then still another, and on up and around, three pumpkins here, seven pumpkins still higher, a dozen clustered beyond, a hundred, five hundred, a thousand pumpkins lit their candles, which is to say brightened up their faces, showed fire in their square or round or curiously slanted eyes. Flame guttered in their toothed mouths. Sparks leaped out their ripe-cut ears.

Halloween.

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

I was all set to write about how I first stumbled across The Halloween Tree as a kid but then I realized—I already have! And even quoted that book. Twice before. And even referenced it twice more.

Sigh.

One of the problems I have with blogging for (almost) nineteen years—I've probably already blogged about it.

Anyway, Happy Hallowe'en everybody!


“I got five pieces of candy!” “I got a chocolate bar!” “I got a quarter!” “I got a keyboard.”

It is well known I like my IBM Model M keyboards, both at home and at the office (thankfully, my fellow cow-orkers don't seem to mind as they can be a bit clicky). So it was a nice surprise when fellow cow-orker J presented me with an IBM Model M SSK in the original package!

[Even though it's smaller than normal, at 4lbs (2kg) it's still quite lethal.]

It's missing the numeric keypad, but that's something I rarely if ever even use on the normal IBM Model Ms I use so that doesn't bother me. What has me intrigued are the legends on the keycaps:

[This is making up for that IBM Model M with APL keycaps I missed getting by 10 seconds years ago.]

Some of these keys have five different functions, so I'm left wondering how one would select which function. For instance, the key with the front faced labeled END-ITEM—you have just the plain key, Shift-key, Ctrl-key, Ctrl-Shift-key, and … not Alt-key because the label isn't green, unlike the front label on the “P” key … perhaps Left-Ctrl-key and Right-Ctrl-key? I don't know. But it looks cool!

The keyboard seems smaller than it really is—the keys are the same size as on a regular keyboard, and the removable keycaps fit perfectly on my normal IBM Model M. The feel of using it is subtly different though. I wonder if that's because this keyboard probably has never seen use and thus, isn't broken in.

I wasn't able to find much of anything about this keyboard on the Intarwebs, just this one page where someone by the name of Mr. Nobody was selling the same keyboard (made on the same day no less!) for, and I quote, “a pocket deep as an ocean.”

In any case, it's sitting by, just in case the keyboard I've been using for nearly 20 years ever dies on me.

Update on Monday, November 5th, 2018

I have some new information on this keyboard.


How about this for a headline? “Miami Herald: Records suggest that Ron DeSantis paid campaign workers to spam cell phones with political ads to avoid Federal Communications Commission regulations over automated text messaging”

So this happened:

[Note how it fits perfectly on the iPhone screen.  I wonder how much effort went into ensuring that?]

It's not the content I necessarily object to—it's the fact that it happened that I object to. Given that politicians write the law, of course they also exempt themselves from the law.

Grrrrrrrrr …

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:

http://boston.conman.org/2000/08/01

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 © 1999-2018 by Sean Conner. All Rights Reserved.