Wednesday, August 29, 2007

365 Portraits

365 Portraits

Those of you who know me know how much I hate having my picture took. I leave the room, or I offer to take the picture myself, but I really do not like being photographed. Something about my soul being stolen.

No, seriously, I don't like pictures of myself because I almost never look as good in photographs as I hope. It's never the fault of the photographer or the camera -- it's me.

So it took a lot to let myself be shot for an hour by Bill Wadman, a New York photographer who is doing a project in which he's creating a portrait every day for a year. He took nearly 100 pictures (in some of them I was actually standing in a waterfall!), and then emailed me. "Half are handsome, half are funny. Which do you want me to use?" I told him to use the most honest one.

It looks like he succeeded perfectly.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

eclipse 3

The moon is now behind the trees, the clouds are thick and starting to turn a monochrome early morning blue.

I am underwhelmed.

eclipse 2

And we are now completely socked in.

The clouds are banded, alternating thick and thin layers, so as they
were moving in over the moon they gave a nice impression of the moon
going into the umbra. it was like watching a real eclipse on fast-forward


Well, after weeks of saying that i wasn't going to watch the eclipse, that I've seen eclipses before, that there was nothing special about this eclipse, my body betrayed me and woke me up at 4:55, just in time for the eclipse.

So far, as expected, it doesn't quite thrill me.


It doesn't help that we're at about 8/10 overcast.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Kevin Mitnick's Business Card

Kevin Mitnick's Business Card
Originally uploaded by ranh
Kevin Mitnick's business card is a break-out lock picking kit.

John Lennon sings Dear Yoko

Friday, August 10, 2007

How to lose friends and terrify people

It looks like one of those video-sharing sites that's not GooTube. It even ends in ".tv", the way the cool sites do now. An embedded video window beckoned me to click Play.

It started to play a news clip from Miami television station WBFX, talking about a serial killer on the loose. As people in hazmat suits clean up a bloody crime scene, a youthful reporter described the demographics of the victims, and they were all remarkably like me-- male, early 40s, background in journalism. Geez.

And then my intestines froze: on the wall of the crime scene, written in blood, was my name, with the warning that I am the sericl killer's next victim. The reporter says the cops are hoping to find that person before the serial killer does. The video ended, and the only part of my brain that still functioned was the part trying to decide whether I should call 911 and have the police take me into protective custody, or if I should just drive to the police station myself.

But then comes the real punchline: I've been hoaxed. The website and video are part of a viral promotion for Dexter, a show on FXUK about, wouldn't you just guess, a serial killer. Someone I know -- one of my closest friends, actually -- entered my name, demographics, and email into the website, which then generated the video and sent me a link. Now that I'm in on the gag, the website offered me the opportunity to scare it forward by providing someone else's info. Even though, in a world in which a major city can be paralyzed with fear by a few strategically placed Lite-Brites, a website that cranks out serial killer threats is wrong in too many ways to count.

Of course, I sent one to everyone I know.

So far the responses I've gotten have been muted: real death threats, charges of assault, social ostracism (my brother's email read simply: "You are no longer my brother."). Even when they later claim to notice the anomalies in the video -- a Miami tv station would never call a parking lot a "car park", the "handwritten" message is written in Helvetica type, there is no WBFX in Miami -- seeing their name in blood was terrifying to every one of my victims. They calmed their fears by promptly sending a video to everyone they know.

The next step: some moron will send one of these to an elected official, and wind up on the receiving end of some Secret Service lovin'.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I was the Son of Sam's paperboy, part II

I never met him, but David Berkowitz, the man we'd soon come to know as the Son of Sam, the .44 caliber killer, lived around the corner from me. One night in August, the street filled with police cars as I calmly explained to my mother that the Son of Sam was MILES away.

Monday, August 6, 2007

I was the Son of Sam's paperboy, part I

I never met him, but for one week in the summer of 1977, I took over my friend's paper route and delivered the local newspaper to the apartment building of David Berkowitz, the man we'd soon come to know as the Son of Sam, the .44 caliber killer.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Arduino issues, continued.

The problem was that I was programming the Arduino the same way I would program a computer, even though they are not the same thing. The entire concept of program flow, just to choose one example, is vastly different between the two platforms.

Once I got my head wrapped around that bit of obviousness, the program wrote itself. It works just fine on the prototyping platform; now I just need to build up the hardware and change a few parameters in the software.

Arduino report

I thought I had lost all ability to write a simple program. Every time I ran the thing, it crashed the computer.

Turns out, it's a known compiler issue. It's not me.