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July 30, 2007

Secure gmail

Voila: https://mail.google.com/

But save that URL, gmail users.

The digital certificate presented by other https-ified synonyms for gmail.com, including the "obvious" secure web URL https://gmail.com present certificates whose names don't match the corresponding hostnames. I guess Google can't afford the $50 or so necessary to enable that. Default browser logic will give you a warning dialog from the depths of the X.509 runtime ["It is possible, although unlikely, that someone may be trying to intercept your communication with this web site." It's safe to ignore that dialog, together with its overly-unctuous, "Attention—everyone please remain calm" attitude, but who needs another stupid dialog popping up all the time? Not I, and not you.]

0xDE points out that ISPs are starting to do "deep inspection" of packets, including reading email traffic. Yucchh—I'm bookmarking

https://mail.google.com/, and so should you.

Posted by tplambeck at 10:00 PM

July 28, 2007

Waiting at the San Mateo Bridge toll booth

THANE: Look at those cars in the next lane. They're flying through the tollbooths because they have those electronic EASYPASS things.

GLORIA: That's not what they're called, "Easy Pass."

THANE: We need one of those things. How much do they cost?

GLORIA: We never go anywhere! You don't commute! Why would we buy one?

THANE: Because—well, they are just too cool. Look at those smirking people—they're laughing at us because they've got the goddamnned DRIVE-ON-THRU things. Look at that truck! He hardly slowed down. Here we are in the CASH lane, it's like some kind of Soviet bread line. This sucks. To make it interesting, when we get to the front of this stupid CASH line, I'm not going to pay $4. No, I'll tell him, "For me, for my family, $3.00, final offer." Then I'll wait to see what the toll guy says. I'm sure he's a reasonable person, and we'll be able to come to some sort of understanding. I'll mention, for example, that I fully support the MOTOR-GLIDE thing, that I'm going to sign up for it, you know, next week. I'm a good customer!

GLORIA: I am not listening to you.

THANE: Then, if he says no, I'll say, "OK, deal: $3.50". This is so boring. And you know what? I picked the wrong CASH line.

GLORIA: That's not what they're called, either, "Drive-On-Thru." Why can't you read the signs?

COLE: Daddy doesn't know what they're called.

THANE: Who cares what they're called. I need one. Can you transfer them between cars? That would be cool. Gotta to have one of those things.

GLORIA: We never go anywhere! How many times do we go over those bridges? We are so not going to spend money that.

THANE: OK, so, I took Cole to California Carnivores. The people with the FUN-DRIVERS were smirking at me then too. Also, I went to Ahwahnee. I waited forever. Yes—I'm getting one of those things.

OWEN: Daddy doesn't know what they're called—he's making those names up.

COLE: Yeah, let's get a HAPPY-DRIVER. Or is it a SMIRK-N-SIT.

THANE: Right! Who cares what they're called. ZIP-N-SMILE, whatever, I want one!

Posted by tplambeck at 08:34 PM

July 27, 2007

Thank you Fallen Leaf Firefighters

Thank you Fallen Leaf Firefighters
Originally uploaded by thane
Near the intersection of Tahoe Mt and Fallen Leaf roads.

Some completely destroyed houses smouldered nearby.
Posted by tplambeck at 04:56 PM

July 21, 2007

Holy cow

The new Google maps drag and drop the blue line thing is cool.

Posted by tplambeck at 10:10 AM

July 20, 2007

We survived

We survived
Originally uploaded by thane
This tree limb fell unexpectedly across our front walk at about 11:50am.

I was at Fry's Electronics, and Gloria and Owen were inside.
Posted by tplambeck at 01:43 PM

QWERTY license plate, downtown Palo Alto

QWERTY license plate, downtown Palo Alto
Originally uploaded by thane

Posted by tplambeck at 11:32 AM

July 19, 2007

Sicherman dice with pencil and paper

Sicherman dice with pencil and paper
Originally uploaded by thane

Posted by tplambeck at 10:29 PM


Aaron and Olya told me that LinkedIn had some capability to show me how I'm "connected" to various people inside their network.

So, I created an account and typed in my information for fun. While still messing with it, I inadvertently invited everyone in my gmail address book who was already a LinkedIn member to become my "Contact."

I checked my email an hour later and over thirty people have already returned the favor.

I had no idea so many people were using this thing! It's interesting think of someone I know, and type their name in. I'm usually connected to them, somehow, through this thing.

I've always been fascinated with the idea that most people I run into on the street (or maybe anywhere in the US?) are a friend of friend of a ... for some surprsingly small number of "friend of a"'s. LinkedIn doesn't quite completely satisfy my curiosity in this phenomenon because it appears to obscure the links in the chain between people who aren't my immediate contact.

Anyway, it's a fascinating thing to play with.

Posted by tplambeck at 12:13 AM

July 15, 2007

Chelsea vs Club America in Palo Alto at the Stanford Stadium


Note the guy wearing the John Terry jersey (#26) in the foreground.

The real John Terry is on the field.

There were plenty of people dressed as soccer players at the game. More precisely—they were wearing their jerseys. I remember the first time I saw someone wearing a uniform identical to a famous athlete's uniform (it was long ago, naturally), and I remember thinking, "What the f***? Who's that guy to wear a uniform that only [whoever it was] should wear?" It seemed to be simultaneously pathetic and yet still an affront. I also remember thinking, "why not take off that jersey, make up your own with your own name on it, and wear that?" That's someone who would capture my respect instantly, or at least give me pause—who is that person?

Let us open our bibles (ie, as usual, our Emerson) to the essay "Uses of Great Men":

Thus we feed on genius, and refresh ourselves from too much conversation with our mates, and exult in the depth of nature in that direction in which he leads us. What indemnification is one great man for populations of pigmies! Every mother wishes one son a genius, though all the rest should be mediocre. But a new danger appears in the excess of influence of the great man. His attractions warp us from our place. We have become underlings and intellectual suicides. Ah! yonder in the horizon is our help;- other great men, new qualities, counterweights and checks on each other. We cloy of the honey of each peculiar greatness. Every hero becomes a bore at last. Perhaps Voltaire was not bad-hearted, yet he said of the good Jesus, even, "I pray you, let me never hear that man's name again." They cry up the virtues of George Washington,- "Damn George Washington!" is the poor Jacobin's whole speech and confutation. But it is human nature's indispensable defense. The centripetence augments the centrifugence. We balance one man with his opposite, and the health of the state depends on the see-saw.

Right—the old centripetence and centrifugence. I'm not sure either is actually a word, but that's Emerson for you.

Posted by tplambeck at 12:10 AM

July 14, 2007

iPhone headphone adapter surgery

The adapter for iPhone headphones is recessed, and wouldn't allow me to put in my regular headphones.

Bummer. I'd read warnings about this in various articles, but hoped it wouldn't happen to me. Then I found this page suggesting how to correct the problem surgically.

Yet another Exacto project. I sawed the adapter as that article recommended:

iPhoneHeadPhoneSurgery 001

Soon the circumcision was complete:

iPhoneHeadPhoneSurgery 002


iPhone headphone adapter surgery:  Success!

I'm Moving On.

Posted by tplambeck at 03:46 PM

First photo sent from my iPhone

First photo sent from my iPhone
Originally uploaded by thane

Posted by tplambeck at 12:38 PM

July 13, 2007

Assorted flickr user comments on a T&A photo (half T, half A)

1) Nice contrast between the ambiance of the two images.

2) Very nice contrast.

3) I like the way both the symmetry and the mirroring works.

4) Great photographic territory that i hope you explore further.

5) The shadowplay is excellent and gets brought more with two sides of you.

6) Have to ask myself, " would i like this picture if there wasn't a beautiful woman in it ?" Unfortunately i dont think i would. [what a party pooper!]

7) I like the compositional play of 1-2 and A-B-A that occurs in it—it has a sort of triptych thing going, while only actually being two separate panels. This piece seems to be much more static and also a bit less mysterious.

8) The colours work for you.

9) There are no words.

10) The left one seems more enigmatic, no doubt, my favorite. [Note to reader—the left one is A, not T]

11) Wow, now that's a better split screen. [Only comment worth saving, in my opinion.]

12) I don't see anything wrong here, and to my mind it is such an improvement over the alternative, the symmetry, or rather antisymmetry of you and symmetry of chair and shadows (depends on how you look at it) is simply beautiful. [I understand the confusion. I had the same problem with tensor gymnastics—is this symmetric, or antisymmetric?]

13) Definitely, your aim is to kill us. I'm having a heart attack!!

[original photo]

Posted by tplambeck at 05:09 PM

Spell-correcting "wishy-washiness"

Did you mean:


* * *
No—I meant


Posted by tplambeck at 11:43 AM

July 12, 2007


Long-time co-conspirator Bruce Oberg writes:

* * *

it won't be out for a year or so, but sony announced our new game to the world yesterday. it's an (ahem) "emergent-sandbox-adventure" called "infamous". here's a link to a movie of the announcement and our first trailer:


we're not allowed to talk much more about it, but at least you can see what i've been working on.


* * *
[Whoa—that's a cool video!]

Posted by tplambeck at 05:52 PM

Summer reading

Summer reading

OWEN: Ah—these Hardy Boys books are so good! They're so exciting. They should make a movie or a TV show out of them!

GLORIA: Ugh—I think they already did.

THANE: Really? A Hardy Boys show?

GLORIA: Yes, with Shaun Cassidy.

Posted by tplambeck at 09:38 AM

July 11, 2007

Nature magazine, 5 July 2007

Nature, 5 July 2007 cover

Posted by tplambeck at 09:10 PM

July 09, 2007

Attempted Fake Tilt Shift

Attempted Fake Tilt Shift
Originally uploaded by thane
I tried to make this photo of San Francisco, which I took from near the top of 555 California a few years ago, look like it is a model of San Francisco rather than the real thing.

It looks OK—but not too convincing I think.

Maybe too large a focal area?
Posted by tplambeck at 10:37 PM

Fake tilt-shift photos

33 "Chevrolet 3100"
Originally uploaded by major deegan
I need to learn how to do this.
Posted by tplambeck at 04:39 PM

July 07, 2007

Two found equations

Lasker + Montessori + brainstories = Method

[ Taken from the profile of a user with the handle "doorkijken" on the the Internet Chess Club. I have no idea what it means. ]


Graffiti—seemingly an impressive indictment of people who blather on about problems without doing anything, until you realize that it implies


Posted by tplambeck at 12:42 PM

Amherst, Nebraska (maybe Riverdale?)

If I ever moved back to Nebraska, I'd buy an old building like this and fix it up in a vaguely modern (but mostly ripped-off Starbucks) style. Next, I would move in all my books, and cram it full of computers, comfy chairs and couches, and wickedly-fast and redundant Internet connection technologies. There would be industrial-strength air conditioning, refrigerators, and white boards.

Then I'd move in and never come out again, except for unusual celestial events such as comets, supernovae, or tears in the fabric of spacetime:

Amherst, Nebraska

Yes—that would be nice.

Or maybe just a little bit boring?


Posted by tplambeck at 02:27 AM

Fog at the Golden Gate

Fog at the Golden Gate
Originally uploaded by thane
Cole and I drove up to Sebastopol for a visit to California Carnivores.
Posted by tplambeck at 01:08 AM

July 05, 2007

Toilet paper roll ID

Are these things ubiquitous or am I living in an episode of The Prisoner?

Toilet paper roll ID

Posted by tplambeck at 04:02 PM

Paper towel roll ID

Paper towel roll ID

Posted by tplambeck at 04:00 PM

July 04, 2007

Card game at picnic

Card game at picnic
Originally uploaded by thane
Another proud parenting moment:

GLORIA: What card game are you playing?

COLE: It's the game we played called "BS," but now these kids are calling it "I doubt it," instead.

Posted by tplambeck at 12:06 AM

July 03, 2007

Shortened quotations

Each quotation has had its final three words removed.

Final punctuation is preserved.

* * * *
Agatha Christie: Curious things, habits. People themselves never knew.

Aldous Huxley: Maybe this world is.

Steven Wright: If you shoot at mimes, should you?

G. K. Chesterton: Journalism largely consists of saying 'Lord Jones
is Dead' to people who never knew that Lord.

Mark Twain: It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there
is no distinctly American criminal.

Ambrose Bierce: NON-COMBATANT, n.

William Hazlitt: Without the aid of prejudice and custom I should not
be able to find my way.

Emiliano Zapata: It is better to die on your feet than live.

Posted by tplambeck at 02:58 PM


I couldn't Google up a good list, so I asked for suggestions on the NPL list:

From an article in today's NYT about the iPhone:

* * *
"I got to tell you, carrying this thing around and experiencing those
kinds of speeds on a wireless handset, your imagination begins to run
in terms of what's possible," he said, "and by the way, there's not a
3G network available in Ottumwa, Iowa," referring to the so-called
third generation of Web-enabled cellphones that require faster
* * *
I think I've heard Ottumwa summoned before in such "name a podunk
town" contexts, and almost always with the "Iowa" following it.

Thirty seconds of Googling hasn't revealed a good list such places.

Not to offend anyone, I'll offer Schenectady and Kankakee as
candidates for the list.


Ottumwa, Iowa [Probably from M*A*S*H on TV, as pointed out by several people]
Keokuk, Iowa
Mule Shoe, Texas
Uncertain, Texas
Waikikamukau [Why kick a moo cow?]
Schenectady, NY
Kankakee, IL
Anaheim, Azusa, and Cucamonga, CA ["laughed at on old radio." (Wampahoofus)]
Peoria, IL ["this won't play in ..." (Wampahoofus)]
Hoople, ND [Peter Schikele's University of Southern North Dakota at ... (Wampahoofus)].
Butte, Montana (Uncanny)
Intercourse, PA ["you could wind up in ..." (Loki-5)]
The Abilene Paradox (not quite on subject, but interesting [Pintac]).
Humptulips, WA [Growing up in Seattle, it was Humptulips. No, I am not making that up. (CoasterGal)]
Cheesequake NJ
Loyalsock PA
Boring, Oregon [last three: (Sanit)]

Added later:
Kalamazoo [(Graham)]

Posted by tplambeck at 12:40 PM

July 01, 2007

Owen at third base for the U10 All Stars

Owen at third base
Originally uploaded by thane
They won their first-round game in the tournament in San Mateo.
Posted by tplambeck at 12:37 PM

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