Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Decline of Western Civilization

Museum Field Trip Deemed Too Revealing - New York Times:"“Teachers get in trouble for a variety of reasons,” said the association’s general counsel, Kevin Lungwitz, “but I’ve never heard of a teacher getting in trouble for taking her kiddoes on an approved trip to an art museum.”"

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Rodeo Phone?

For a while now I had been aware of something strange with my RAZR V3. The couple of times I had tried to shoot a video with the camera it would always stop recording after a few seconds. I assumed that somewhere there was a setting that was triggering this, something due to battery life or memory, and that if I wanted to I could reset it. I never bothered to reset it because I never really cared to be shooting a video with my phone.

Tonight I wanted to shoot a video with my phone. I was in a rehearsal and wanted to capture a few seconds for discussion in class. The sequence is maybe 15 seconds in length so rather than go get my camera I figured I could get it with my phone. I couldn't. Every time I tried to shoot the recording would stop after 4 seconds. I went looking for a setting and failed. I turned the phone on and off and removed and resent the battery. I deleted some garbage files and checked the free space in memory. Eventually I got it to shoot an 8 second video, but it still cut out on its own. I never did find the setting in any of the menus.

I eventually walked out of the theatre and hit the internet. I checked on T-Mobile's site. They have a good site and I think their customer service is good. I found the V3 operators manual and looked up video. Here's what I found:
Reasonable instructions, but nothing about a length restriction. Although I do start to wonder if perhaps the lengths of videos are capped because the intent is that you would send them as multimedia messages and if they got too long that would be a bandwidth problem. But at this point this is just speculation, and I have yet to find instructions on how to change the setting, or any kind of confirmation that I just don't have a defective phone.

So I abandon the .pdf of the users manual and start to look through the help sections on the T-Mobile page. Fairly quickly I find this:

Did you see what I did:

What? Is this some kind of phone for rodeo enthusiasts - people wanted to video message their amigos the latest footage from the bull riding competition? Who would want a phone that takes 8 second videos?

When I bought the phone, I remember being informed it took video, I also remember not really caring. But nobody said to me:

One of the greatest features of the Motorola V3 RAZR is that it can take a full 8 seconds of MPEG video!
Now that, that would have been a pitch I could not have turned down. I think perhaps there's a small truth in advertising issue here.

I have an email into the tech support. I can't imagine this is a hardware issue, the thing must be programmed to stop recording after so short a period. If it can be programmed it ought to be reprogrammable. I'll let you know.


I'm with Mrs. T. Julie should move out... Anna Nicole is not news... Perhaps a sense of humor is not what I need for composing faculty information packets... Peg is off the market... The reason you build during the build and install during the install is because they are going to ask you to do things during tech, really, it's going to happen... Bean likes to try to kill the cursor... Congress went ahead and dealt with torture before I got to writing my entry. So much for my input... Payday is coming, thank goodness... Would the severed head of Mohammed in a German Opera be as bad as that cartoon thing? Guess we won't find out... I guess if I wanted a jiffy lube I should have gone to Jiffy Lube instead of the dealer... $1.5 could be spent in so many better ways than on election campaigns - especially now that they're faking all the vote counts anyway... I don't care if mutual funds are upset by lower oil prices, with the prices where they are I will never get to utilize my 401k anyway... If you are the President of Pakistan I think maybe you shouldn't go on The Daily Show... I think maybe the poop smell at work is finally fading a little... Is there any other reason to take 35 pills??? Tech is not my favorite part of the theatrical process, perhaps that's why I am not a stage manager... As always, the problem with giving homework is that you have to grade the homework... The Lost season premiere or the Project Runway season finale? Might be time to finally cave on the DVR... Speaking of, I think that not cutting down to a final three was a great big waffle on the producers... Is it time for Basketball yet? I wonder if I will watch this year... It would be nice to have video to go with the audio monitoring I have in my office... Its going to be a while until there's some time off. I wonder how that happened...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I Think They Will Get A Lot of Calls

Since the suspect approached suddenly from behind, the victim could only describe his assailant as a White male, 20-30 years old, 6 feet tall, dark hair. No clothing description was given.

If you see this suspect or anyone resembling him, particularly in or near the University Center, or have any information that might assist police in this case, please call Carnegie Mellon University Police at (412) 268-2323 immediately

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Link of the Day

I've linked to this site a couple of times already. I stumbled it a few weeks ago and have added it to my regular rotation. The last few entries have been particularly interesting. If you follow the link you will find the transcript of a Bill Clinton interview that will run tomorrow on Fox News. Chris Wallace goes after Clinton with some fairly revisionist 9/11 history and Clinton actually takes him to task - not in a defence of his administration, he admits they didn't get Bin Laden and that was a failure, but for the media's free pass for the Bush administration. Wallace does defend his record. The next two Think Progress entries verify his recollection, which needless to say turns out to be in error.

Interesting stuff, and the link of the day: Think Progress

Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Guy

Think Progress » REPORT: Bush Family Compound At Kennebunkport Could Be Submerged By Global Warming

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sources and Methods

This I think is an example of why polarization is bad. There's this ongoing dispute about just what species of kangaroo court were going to bounce our guests in the internment camp we have in Cuba through. Part of that argument is whether they should be allowed to hear things like the charges against them, hear the evidence against them, or to confront their accusers - you know, all that constitution stuff.

For a very long time the whole "detainee" thing has bothered me. It seems that people are either criminals or POWs and that both of those groups have rules associated with them. Criminals in US custody get the full protection of the constitution. POWs have the Geneva Conventions. Calling people "detainees" clouds the issue nicely and lets you do pretty much anything you want, and I cannot believe it has taken until now to really force a discussion in the halls of government.

Policy really ought not be executed through semantics. It isn't the word you use that is important, it's who they are and what you're doing with them. "Detainee" is slimy, fineprint, doublespeak; Newspeak."


I can see genuine reasons why, during an active conflict, with assets in the field it could be reasonable to not put all the information available into the public record, or for that matter even into a sealed record that includes a defendant and their attorney (do they even get an attorney? Question for another day.) The random gamesaying of contradictory position which has become our public discourse doesn't really allow for this middle of the road, reasonable, position though, and that's sad. We should be capable of assessing and responding reasonably to a situation as opposed to simply regurgitating whatever the dogma of our particular group might be.

When in a criminal or civil case within our normal court system some evidence is in question because it may be unduly prejudicial or because it may irreparably harm third parties there is already a work around in place. Sometimes a judge will evaluate the evidence in chambers before ruling on its admissibility. Sometimes records are reviewed by a special master. Surely there must be a way a similar work around could be implemented in this case.

Clearly the judge is out of the question. In a military tribunal I don't think it would really pass gas to have the military decide what evidence could be in or out. So it must be more complicated than that. And there's another issue, yes? We're not talking about admissibility in this case, we're talking about revealing the information or not. Quite different.

I submit that if we are the United States of America then we cannot try someone in any government backed court, military or otherwise, without their being able to hear the evidence against them. Period. That's just who we are, to do something different would make us some other people - people we should not want to be. Something would need to be done however because I also believe that if we are the United States of America we do not hold individuals indefinitely without a trial.

And God help us if we aren't the United States of America.

How about this. In the time of a declared war people being held in the name of national security, but who are not part of some standing army and are not represented by any national government may be held for a given period without review. Lets qualify that further and say that these people must be non-US citizens, and that US citizens may avail themselves of the criminal court system immediately. Want to hold them? Charge them with treason. We need a period, I am suggesting 6 months. The United States may hold non-nationally aligned national security risks for six months without further action.

After six months they must be charged with something and allowed discovery to prepare for a speedy trial. Speedy? Maybe another 6 months. This would mean that nobody would be held for more than 1 year without initiating a trial.

So far so good. But what about where we started, sources and methods? At the time of the beginning of the discovery period, the end of the first six months, the government may move for a six month extension of detention with no action in order to protect active sources and methods. I imagine they would have to be able to do this repeatedly. Its hard to figure out what that period should be, but I think it would be fair to say that the life of a secret source in this context is likely not more than 3 years. Really for me it is difficult to imagine a conflict dragging on for three years, but Afghanistan and Iraq are going to re-educate me about that I think. So, 5 appeals for extended detention without action in the interest in protecting sources and methods vital to national security. After 3 years, you get a trial or they let you go. And I have to say as a citizen of the United States of America I think that is too long, but I will make allowances for the fact that we are at war.

Who hears the appeal? We ruled out the presiding judge earlier. This is a special problem, we need a special solution. I propose a group, a seven person commission, judgment by majority vote. Panel members are: the US Attorney General, the Ranking Majority Member of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, and the Ranking Minority Member of the House and Senate intelligence Committees, the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Now that's a high powered meeting. Proceedings are closed, ballots are secret, and records are sealed for 20 years. The prosecutor would present the sources or methods that are in jeopardy and the commission would determine if their release would or would not constitute a palpable injury to our national security. If they agree, the detention carries on with no action for another six months. If they disagree either the trial discovery begins or the prisoner must be released.

Am I being stupid? This doesn't seem like it should be too hard to figure out. It's not like there are thousands of these prisoners. I know this would cut into some pretty high powered schedules, but I am sure they all use some kind of collaborative scheduling program and could figure out a way to fit it into their lives. And then, then we can have "detainees" and have national security and have due process - and be able to sleep at night.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Mrs. T. wants off the top of the page. I do what I can for her... I heard that more than 50% of medical bills in the US are currently paid by local, state, and federal government. If we're already doing that I can't understand why anyone would object to single payer... I think there was cat poop on the stairwell at work. Curious, as there isn't a cat at work... Rustin said the thing I taught him that stuck with him the most was "Move the trashcan." At the time that seemed a little belittling. I've given that speech 5 times in the last 24 hours... I do think that the issue of sources and methods is not one that is black and white. But I also think that grey things can still have rules... Really, really I need to pay bills... Which is better: dentist appointment or committee meeting? I picked committee meeting... The cat won't hold still for working out the mats in his fur. Guess he's going back to kitty spa... It's just like being in fourth gear, dropping it into first, and then trying to jam it right back into fourth. Not good... Torture should be illegal, maybe not completely banned, but definitely illegal - like murder. If you elect to do it, you should know there will be a trial... CMU has that lovely CMU odor again this week, the smell of my college experience, that's right: shit... I can't figure out what is missing in my classes, but for some reason we have the most curious difficulty actually placing the set where it goes... I am getting a predominantly positive recommendation from the renewal committee. One down, two to go... Today was the first day this semester I actually felt like I wasn't behind. Then today ended... Studio 60 didn't have a "Your boss sure has a funny name" scene, but it looks promising... I watched that 9-0 game all the way to the end. I may have completed the transition to 100% Yinzer... ALL OF THEM!!!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Shopping List

The other day at work I received this list by IM from Mrs. TANBI:

MrsTANBI: hi
MrsTANBI: i need a favor
MrsTANBI: i need some art store supplies
DBoevers: I see
DBoevers: make me a list
DBoevers: in such a way that I won't get it wrong
MrsTANBI: ok
MrsTANBI: (1) .5mm pencil with HB lead
(1) tube of .5mm HB lead
(1) .3mm pencil with 2h lead
(1) 5 yard roll of 36" vellum
(1) chocolate cake
DBoevers: right
So I go to the artstore and I get:

(1) .5mm pencil with HB lead
(1) tube of .5mm HB lead
(1) .3mm pencil with 2h lead
(1) 5 yard roll of 36" vellum

and then on the way home I add:

(1) slice Triple Chocolate Cake: Midnight chocolate layers with chocolate icing and chocolate chips
(1) slice 5th Dimension Cake: Two layers of chocolate cake filled with chocolate flavored cheesecake and chocolate icing, then coated with chocolate ganache and served with chocolate sauce.
(1) slice Peanut Butter Melt-Away: Brownie crust topped with layers of chocolate and peanut butter mousse, then finished with chocolate ganache, whipped cream and peanuts
(1) slice Chocolate Intemperance: Brownie crust, chocolate and coffee mousse coated with a bitter sweet chocolate ganache and whipped cream dollops

It is possible I over did it some.

Got to love Gullifty's.

Just what is ganache anyway?

I left the vellum in my office. Oops.

Friday, September 15, 2006

On Second Thought...

...maybe it should be called Too Stupid To Teach

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Link of the Day

October 6th is still most of a month away. But if you have the same Galactica cravings I do you can get just a taste online. These are just as likely out takes that didn't make episodes as they are "webisodes" but they are new BG just the same. And today they are the link of the day:

SCIFI.COM | Battlestar Galactica


Think Progress: "Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards (D) has died."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Path to 9/11

What with the show having been on and over by now I guess it is ok to talk about this without being a vector for free promotion, yes? Did you hear anything about this show on ABC? They did a 9/11 "docu-drama" that makes the Clinton people look like hicks and W look like the greatest thing since sliced bread. For the month or so various people from the Clinton administration and from the 9/11 commission (on who's report the movie was "based") have been lobbying ABC and Disney to either re-edit the film or just shitcan it rather than air something that is just quite frankly factually wrong.

Apparently the height of the farce is a scene in which an operative has Bin Laden in his gunsight, phones the White House for permission to fire, and is told not to by the then National Security Advisor. This scene is in fact, fiction.

The movie was apparently produced by right wing evangelicals with the mission of "changing Hollywood."

I'm having one of those moments. Is this the level we have sunk to?

Interestingly, when people are online or on TV quoting the record there doesn't seem to be anyone defending the content of the film. Mostly they criticize the messenger for bullying the film maker and accuse them of not being able to take criticism.

Remember that scene in Aliens: "Did IQ's just drop while I was away?"

These are the same people that pitched a hurricane of a fit over the Reagan movie years ago. They were actually more successful then the current complainers as the Reagan film got chased right off of network television and had to air on Showtime. So I guess it is ok to bully a film maker who doesn't depict your icon in a golden glow, but when you do it you are supposed to be left alone.

Just when did everyone in the public sector become such incredible hypocrites? And why on Earth do we stand for it?

By the way, when special forces did pop off a shot a Bin Laden during the Clinton administration, remember they tried to get him with a cruise missile in the Sudan, the people that just made a movie saying he didn't do anything were all over the airwaves screaming "NO WAR FOR MONICA!!!"


Really though part of me feels good about a gloves off battle for the soul of Hollywood. If the righties think that Michael Moore or the West Wing is bad to them I cannot wait to see what kind of projects get the green light in the wake of an active campaign. For the time being its been a real high ground (West Wing) or high brow (Daily Show) kind of thing - that and batshit crazy (Michael Moore). But Michael Moore could be made to appear much more reasonable, much more widely palatable. And I believe that argument need not be limited to high ground and high brow. Be nice to see the "George Bush the College Years" movie from Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Maybe "National Lampoon's Dick Cheney Safari" would get some laughs. For the most part Hollywood has given these guys a free pass. Let's not forget that this is the industry that made a movie of Primary Colors during the second Clinton White House. How many kinds of apeshit do you think we would see if Bush got the same treatment.

I mean really, I know truth is stranger than fiction and all, but so far when someone has gone after Bush all they have used is - the news. Hard to get too pissed about people doing that. Turn the Reno 911 people loose on it for a week and see what you get. I mean if they want it to be on I am sure there are a ton of people in media just waiting for someone to say "it's on!"

Buckle up.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


It done and went got humid again. And it had been so nice there for a little bit... The Wire returns tomorrow. The thickest, slowest, richest show on television... Monday is 9/11. I am commemorating it with an option meeting at work... All in all I think I am doing a lousy job at correspondence... Somehow the reunion committee for my high school has "lost" me again, even though I have the same email I had 10 years ago, and my folks still have the same phone number and address. Mitch posits that perhaps they can't use Google... I think that pet groomers must be a little bit sadistic. Either that or I am doing something wrong with the comb I bought to get rid of the cats matted fur... Is it me, or did things just seem to stop happening on the news this week... After my binder experience, I think I might have a sideline composing peoples' renewal submissions... Probably I spend too much time in front of a screen on average... Those baha beef chalupas are pretty tasty... It is possible that I have gone one crazy scheme over the edge... It sure will be nice to start getting paid again, that's the one real down side to the teacher schedule I am on... The spiky shards are a little smaller and a little smoother now, thanks for asking... Scanning all those portfolio photos really cut into my family picture project. Got to get me some more albums... Corrine says I switched to Outlook because it is supported. I think perhaps it is because I am a sheep... I cannot count the number of times lately I have said to myself "this is what we're talking about?" - sometimes I can't believe what upsets the applecart... Do the "draft Gore" people really think he will win? Guess we'll have to watch the CT Senate race. I bet that will give us a real clue... Mrs. TANBI found a new phone for me. Nice to have something for a wishlist... Should I drop the AOL address? I was only keeping it to serve images, and the last time I used it for that was ages ago now... We had secret CIA prisons in foreign countries. We suck... Casey good, Santorum bad...

Friday, September 08, 2006


I think I may have finished my renewal submission. Three full three inch three ring binders:

I lost track of how many ink cartridges it took or how many trips to Office Depot. There's a whole, full, fourth binder filled with things that didn't make the cut. I'm glad we only have to do this every three years - and at that only a couple of times. This process has really worn me out.

Still, now that its done, it's pretty darn cool.

Wish me luck. If you want to do more than wish, write me a letter!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Writing Again


Have you ever had that thought? Or maybe “This is so cool I just want to show EVERYBODY!” Don’t just think about how cool you are.

Show the world!

The Tech Expo returns to USITT in its 11th biannual edition this spring in Phoenix. Every other year this exposition gives technical artisans in all theatrical disciplines an opportunity to put their work in front of their peers. Have you come up with an interesting solution to a particularly vexing problem? Perhaps you have arrived at an artfully innovative approach to a regularly occurring theatrical challenge. Maybe you thought of a new way to use some material the rest of the world is taking for granted? You deserve the recognition for your creative headwork, and the Tech Expo is here to give it to you.

Featured on the floor of the Stage Expo, the Theatre Technology Exhibit has previously seen projects from any and all shops – costumes, paints, lighting, sound, props, rigging, carpentry, metals, automation, projections, and stage management. If someone is working on it, it has a place in the expo. Previous submissions have included a modular spiral staircase, articulated angel wings, a dimmable radio controlled light source, ultra low profile tracks, a cueable doily dropping machine, and “growing” grass. Really nothing is out of bounds as long as it has a place in a show or a shop.

This year organizers are waiting for your entry.

All projects accepted for the exhibition are given a display space at the conference and are published in the Tech Expo catalog. This is an excellent opportunity for professionals looking to have their work officially noticed. In addition to the catalog and the showing, the exposition is juried by a distinguished panel of industry technicians and a small number of entrants will receive a special recognition and even a modest cash award.

Submitting work is simple. The hard part is done, you’ve already had the idea and put it to use. By comparison this will be easy. Put together a short article, 500-1000 words (one or two pages) explaining what you did and how and why you did it. Be sure to include some drawings or photos that illustrate the item or process. Download the application form from:

and fill it out. Submit the application, the article, and the photos or drawings to the address shown on the form. Selected entrants will be notified and their submission will be included in the show and published in the 2007 show catalog.

Not totally clear? Download the complete instructions here:

or send inquiries to Loren Schreiber, Tech Expo committee chair at Now start writing. There’s no Tech Expo without you.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Wasn't Iraqi Oil Money Supposed to Pay for the War?

AlterNet: War on Iraq: The 10 Most Brazen War Profiteers: "Since less than 20 of Iraq's 80 known oil fields have already been developed, if Iraq's government commits to signing the PSAs, it could cost the country up to nearly $200 billion in lost revenues according to Muttitt, lead researcher for 'Crude Designs: the Rip-Off of Iraq's Oil Wealth.'"

Monday, September 04, 2006

I'm sorry, so sorry...

Think Progress: "Tough job market for the nation’s 45 million young workers: “Entry-level wages for college and high school graduates fell by more than 4 percent from 2001 to 2005, after factoring in inflation.”"

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Could Never Happen Here

I read about something truly forward thinking the other day. The surprising thing was that the thinking came from a government. The unfortunate thing was it wasn't our government.

It seems that close on the heels of giving Coke and Pepsi the boot that the government of India is teeing up Microsoft, Adobe, Autodesk, and everyone else in the world that ever sold software. Recently the Indian government mandated that their public schools would not teach, or use, software that wasn't free. They're backing it up with a pilot program to train thousands of teachers to use Linux.

I wish I had thought of that.

Years ago when I was in Vegas, one of the other PMs brought in a copy of OpenOffice and said we should trash our MSOffice apps and use the freebies. For a couple of guys in an office it seemed impractical. We were always getting files in from clients that we would have to be able to work with. The PC/Mac thing was hard enough. I can't imagine what it would have been like if we had given up Word.

But now, now I don't know. I write this blog on a free web app that I run in a free browser app. I dumped IE for Firefox a while ago and haven't looked back. I wonder if the free software I would need to get by is available, and if I am doing myself a disservice by sticking with purchased apps?

I mean, what do I use? Word, Excel, Outlook, Photoshop, Firefox, AIM, AutoCAD, Project, KerbFTP, Acrobat, Notebook, and Powerpoint. That's the bulk of it. I am sure there is more, a slew of proprietary driver based things for peripherals and stuff like iTunes. But really with all the applications on the machine the real use does break down to a small group.

I know that Google has a free word processor and spreadsheet that run as web apps, so that could deal with Word & Excel. Firefox, AIM, and Acrobat Reader are already free (come to think of it I guess I would need to add Quicktime and Shockwave, but they are also free and between them make up for the need for Windows Media Player). Its funny that when I shifted away from our old email app that I didn't even think about using Thunderbird, but instead went right to Outlook. I did it because it was the school's recommended application. But maybe I acted too quickly. That would get me most of the functionality of Outlook. There must be free plaintext editors, and I know there are free FTP clients, so scratch Notebook and KerbFTP. I also think I have seen public domain .pdf writers, so that would take care of the rest of Acrobat.

What does that leave: Photoshop, AutoCAD, Project, and Powerpoint. Anyone have any suggestions? There has to be free image editing software, and for the 1% of the functionality of Photoshop I use I could certainly use something a little less robust (and maybe something that boots faster). I have seen TONS of online project management tools, but I haven't seen anything that generates GANTT charts, but I haven't looked either.

Now I have. The third entry on a Google search for GANTT is a free Java app called GanttProject so I guess that's out there too.

Powerpoint? Wouldn't it almost be better if I couldn't find something for Powerpoint? A quick search doesn't find anything here, but it isn't that complex an app, is it? There must be something.

Which brings us to AutoCAD. I would think that a freeware drafting program that uses a .dwg format would be hard to find indeed. It does look like there are free programs that export .dxf though, so maybe it isn't hopeless. Although Vectorworks theoretically exports .dxf, so there's maybe more to it than just the file format. In many ways my utilization of Acad is the same as of Photoshop: "cutting butter with a chainsaw" as Kevin often says. Maybe scaling back the power of my drafting app wouldn't be such a bad idea. Its not like I will ever afford my own AutoCAD license anyway.

So maybe, just maybe the suite of programs I need is out there as freeware. What an unbelievable concept. A quick run to Amazon totals $2793.94 for the list of apps above not counting an FTP or text editor - and Acad LT instead of full blown Autocad. That's a lot of beer after work spending its life on my hard drive. Now, that doesn't include many educational discounts I have access to; but what with the "AUTODESK EDUCATIONAL PRODUCT" printed four times on every sheet output, I am not sure I want the educational versions anyway.

This, of course, ignores the elephant in the room - or on the drive rather: Windows XP. How many of the apps I found would run or have cousins that run under Linux? And could I deal with Linux? I used to function under DOS and TRSDOS and in a simple unix environment ages ago. I bet I could get up to speed enough to send email. I think anyone who ha successfully handled AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS and COMMAND.COM can probably handle something less easy than the Mac or Windows GUI. Could my IT guy handle Linux? Almost certainly, but could he integrate one obstinate freeware user into our network? Who knows.

Still, its a real cool idea and something to keep in mind down the line. And something to watch as a generation of students grow up in India.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Joe says...

If you haven't seen this, you must. Right this second.

It will make you smile. A lot.

We try to always do what Joe says:

What would the TSA do about exploding ID?

Excellent notion.

Boing Boing: What would the TSA do about exploding ID?