September 01, 2004

Spam statistics

In the last two weeks, my spam filter has caught 1062 spam emails.

In that same two weeks, MT-Blacklist has blocked 916 attempted spam comments in my blog or Meredith's blog.

This number has been steadily increasing. For example, there were a mere 108 spam comments caught by MT-Blacklist in all of July.

That CAN-SPAM act sure has helped. Not.

Posted by Mike at 11:07 PM

September 03, 2004

Who made that neat Finding Nemo movie, anyway?


Executives at Apple continue to downplay the importance of both music subscriptions and portable video. "The video market isn't really something that customers have shown an affinity to," said Greg Joswiak, vice president of hardware marketing at the Cupertino, Calif., company.

... In an interview this week with BusinessWeek magazine, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates rejected the notion promoted by Apple CEO Steve Jobs that portable video isn't important.

"Ask kids in the back of a car on a two-hour trip, 'Hey, would you like to have your videos there?' My kids would," Gates said. "I guess Steve's kids just listen to Bach and Mozart. But mine, they want to watch 'Finding Nemo.' I don't know who made that, but it's really a neat movie."


Posted by Mike at 11:17 PM

September 05, 2004

GOP Delegates mock the Purple Heart

CNN reported a few days ago on Republican Delegates wearing bandages with purple hearts on them to mock Kerry.

This is the party that's behind our military? The party that repeatedly attacks Democrats for not supporting the military? And they show this by mocking a decoration given to Veterans who were wounded or killed in combat?

Real nice.

Posted by Mike at 08:01 PM

It's Football time in Tennessee

VolsToday I got to watch the season opener for the Vols, as UNLV came to Knoxville as the annual season-opener sacrifice. UNLV actually scored first, with a field goal off of a UT fumble, then UT scored 21 points in a row. The final score was 42-17.

Interesting (or sad) statistic of the night: there were 108,625 fans at Neyland Stadium for the game. UNLV had a mere 700 of those tickets.

Posted by Mike at 10:36 PM | Comments (1)

I never said that my opponent had sex with a goat

Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House (and therefore second in line for the Presidency), took it upon himself the other day (August 29) on Fox News Sunday to offer up some views on where George Soros, billionaire Democrat supporter, gets his money:

HASTERT: Here in this campaign, quote, unquote, "reform," you take party power away from the party, you take the philosophical ideas away from the party, and give them to these independent groups.

You know, I don't know where George Soros gets his money. I don't know where — if it comes overseas or from drug groups or where it comes from. And I —

WALLACE (interrupting): Excuse me?

HASTERT: Well, that's what he's been for a number years — George Soros has been for legalizing drugs in this country. So, I mean, he's got a lot of ancillary interests out there.

WALLACE: You think he may be getting money from the drug cartel?

HASTERT: I'm saying I don't know where groups — could be people who support this type of thing. I'm saying we don't know. The fact is we don't know where this money comes from.

A few days earlier, he offered this gem on The Brian Lehrer Show:

Brian Lehrer: What do you think of the Swift Boat veterans ads, and John Kerry's calls for the president to denounce them?

Dennis Hastert: Well, you find out that if you look into the record, I was against the Campaign Finance Reform Act because that's what I felt that would happen, that you would push into guys like George Soros, who's dumping in $16 or $20 million. We don't know where that money comes from. We don't know where it comes from, from the left, and you don't know where it comes in the right. You know, Soros' money, some of that is coming from overseas. It could be drug money. We don't know where it comes from.

When Soros demanded an apology, Hastert responded:

"... Chris Wallace said, "drug cartels." I did not. ... I never implied that you were a criminal and I never would, that's not my style."

Well, I think it is, in fact, criminal to profit from illegal drug transactions, and it seems fairly clear that Hastert did at least imply that Soros was doing just that. But this shouldn't be surprising: this is all part of the newest political tactic. Another great example was last month, when Fox News regular Michelle Malkin appeared on Chris Matthews' Hardball talking about John Kerry's time in Vietnam and the Swiftboats Vets controversy:

MALKIN:  Well, yes.  Why don't people ask him more specific questions about the shrapnel in his leg.  They are legitimate questions about whether or not it was a self-inflicted wound. 

MATTHEWS:  What do you mean by self-inflicted?  Are you saying he shot himself on purpose?  Is that what you're saying? 


MALKIN:  There are doubts about whether or not it was intense rifle fire or not.  And I wish you would ask these questions of John Kerry instead of me. 

MATTHEWS:  I have never heard anyone say he shot himself on purpose. 

I haven't heard you say it.

MALKIN:  Have you tried to ask — have you tried ask John Kerry these questions? 

MATTHEWS:  If he shot himself on purpose.  No.  I have not asked him that. 

MALKIN:  Don't you wonder? 

MATTHEWS:  No, I don't.  It's never occurred to me. 

On her website, Malkin goes ballistic on Matthews:

I repeated that the allegations involved whether the injuries were "self inflicted wounds." I DID NOT SAY HE SHOT HIMSELF ON PURPOSE and Chris Matthews knows it. ... Well, guess what? This foaming jerk Matthews, who called me irresponsible and kicked me off the show admitted that ... b) he was not interested in asking Kerry about the specific doubts raised by vets about his wounds, and c) he had not and would not question Kerry about these specific allegations.

No, no, not me: I never said that Kerry shot himself. I just said that there were people who had raised questions about it -- but not me.

It's basically like suddenly saying, "Well, no, there's no proof that my oponent has had sex with goats. I'm certainly not saying he did." But suddenly there's a conversation started about whether or not someone sleeps with goats. "Hey, did you hear that the Democratic candidate got it on with a goat?" And then, if someone says that it's a stupid charge, you can say, "But why won't you ask him? What are you trying to hide by not asking him about that goat?"

And what's amazing is that it works. Even when, as in the Malkin example, the media crushes the person for being unhinged, it still starts a conversation with people. The Swiftboat Vets group has been debunked by almost every major media outlet in the country (except, of course, Fox), but it's still worked: polls show that since their ads started, and all the media coverage that ensued, more and more people question Kerry's service in Vietnam.

This -- the lemming-like behavior of people willing to go along with anything they here -- is the scariest part, and it's the part that I don't know how to imagine fixing.

Posted by Mike at 11:35 PM

September 06, 2004


Meredith and I saw 'Hero' today at the movies. Wow -- it's a beautiful movie. The cinematography is outstanding. The story is great. The sword fight scenes are stunning. It was totally worth seeing.

Posted by Mike at 07:07 PM | Comments (2)

September 10, 2004

Another IPTV partner

Today, Microsoft announced another partner for our IPTV services: Telecom Italia.

The list now includes Bell Canada, Reliance (in India), SBC, and Swisscom.

Posted by Mike at 09:23 PM

September 13, 2004

The cure for all your troubles

Today I got spam that promised this:

Kills ALL known deadly Viruses & Bacteria in the body that keep diseases, namely: Influenza, SARS, Cancer, HIV etc.

A disease must be made DORMANT to stop infection.
'The ANTIDOTE' is the answer.

I'm thinking it must be Iocaine powder. That would certainly make any other diseases you have dormant. Or so I hear.

Posted by Mike at 05:15 PM

September 14, 2004

Hurricane vs. Wedding

In a week and a half, my sister Erin is supposed to get married in a house on the beach in Gulf Shores, AL.

Yes, that Gulf Shores -- the one that is right in the projected path of Hurricane Ivan. A couple of days ago, it was just mostly in the path. As of today, though, it looks like Gulf Shores is dead-center for Ivan. It's projected to hit by sometime Thursday morning or afternoon.

This doesn't seem good. Hopefully it won't really hit, but that's looking less and less likely. At this point, I'm just hoping that the Pensacola airport that Meredith and I are supposed to fly into is still standing by then.

This sucks. Sorry, Erin. :(

Posted by Mike at 09:12 PM

Robert Novak: Congressional Medal of douchebag

Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, who earlier gave Robert Novak the title 'Douchebag of Liberty' (video), last night gave Novak a new award: the Congressional Medal of Douchebag. The award was for Novak's statements this weekend that CBS should, of course, reveal the source of the disputed Bush National Guard memos. This would be the same Robert Novak who for months has steadfastly refused to identify the Bush administration official who told him that Valerie Plame was a CIA operative. Well, sure.

From Crossfire:

ROBERT NOVAK: CBS, which broke the story, should reveal where it got the documents, to be blunt, who forged these documents. ... All I say is, all CBS has to say is where do these documents come from.

From Capital Gang:

NOVAK: I'd like CBS, at this point, to say where they got these documents from. They didn't get them from a CIA agent. I don't believe there was any laws involved. I don't think we'll have a special prosecutor, if they tell. I think they should say where they got these documents because I thought it was a very poor job of reporting by CBS. Why did CBS not go to the -- to Killian's family and get -- and ask them about it, as ABC did, and got these quotes, and they said they think they're phony documents -- I thought -- I thought that the "60 Minutes" thing by Dan Rather was a -- was a campaign operation, rather than an attempt to get to the bottom of the truth.

HUNT: Robert Novak, you're saying CBS should reveal its source?


HUNT: You do? You think reports ought to reveal sources?

NOVAK: No, no. Wait a minute.

HUNT: I'm just asking.

NOVAK: I'm just saying in that case.


NOVAK: I think -- I think it's very important. If this is a phony document, the American -- the people should know about it.

HUNT: So in some cases, reporters ought to reveal sources.


HUNT: But not in all cases.

NOVAK: That's right.

At some level, you have to admire someone who can say such things without his head exploding. It's really a skill.

Posted by Mike at 09:56 PM

September 15, 2004

Marion Barry: he's back

I see that Marion Barry, crack-head, has won his comeback bid for Washington D.C. city council.

The best quote was this, from one of his supporters: "This man has devoted 40 years of his life to changing the character of this city."

Hard to argue with that.

Posted by Mike at 07:36 PM

Hurricane vs. Wedding, part 2

Hurricane IvanI talked to Erin today. They're still trying to figure out what to do with the wedding. At the risk of being a pessimist, this picture seems to make the outlook for Gulf Shores fairly clear.

Delta will change our flight without a change penalty, as long as we finish travel by the end of March and book the new tickets by the end of September. But, what that really means is that they will credit us the price we paid for our tickets. The Delta tickets to get to Nashville (if Erin & Mike move the wedding there) are already 2x what the tickets to FL originally cost, because the flight is now just eight days away.

She's going to call tomorrow with their decision about what to do (keep it in Gulf Shores, move to TN, or something else entirely).

Incredibly, Tropical Storm Jeanne looks like it could become a hurricane and could hit Florida. I don't know how Florida can withstand another hurricane this year. Scary.

Posted by Mike at 11:32 PM | Comments (1)

September 18, 2004

Vols Win!

Wow -- what an amazing game. After James Wilhoit (right) missed the extra point after a touchdown, Tennessee got the ball back after a Florida punt, drove to the 32-yard-line, and Wilhoit got to redeem himself by kicking a 50-yard field goal.


Posted by Mike at 08:57 PM | Comments (2)

September 19, 2004

Can't DirecTV spring for some decent contribution feeds?

Meredith is watching a show on UPN 44 right now. I'm used to seeing pretty bad MPEG artifacts on DirecTV, since they seem to be trying to squeeze the bandwidth lower and lower over time, but this channel has horrible analog noise. The ghosting is really bad. It seems like DirecTV could figure out how to get a high quality feed of UPN before they compress it. Bleh.

Posted by Mike at 07:06 PM | Comments (1)

September 21, 2004

Hurricane vs. small little resort town

We're not going to make it to Erin's wedding.

Erin & Mike decided on Thursday to keep the wedding in Gulf Shores because the initial damage reports were something like "it's not as bad as we thought". On Friday, the damage reports started rolling in, revealing that "not as bad" still leave a lot of room for "bad". By Saturday, it was clear that there wasn't really a Gulf Shores left anymore. The town is a disaster area, there is no electricity or running water, the Pensacola airport that we were to fly into is still closed, and Chucky, a 12-foot, 1100-pound alligator is roaming free in the town because the floodwaters rose above the walls of his zoo enclosure. Just what every wedding needs.

The wedding is moved to Nashville, but too late for us to change our tickets to anything reasonably priced. They are planning to have a beach party / reception next spring in Gulf Shores, by which time, presumably, Chucky will be caught, and we'll go to that.

Posted by Mike at 07:45 PM | Comments (3)

Ballmer visits SVC

Steve Ballmer was in the area today and spoke to Microsoft employees at SVC (Silicon Valley Campus) for about an hour this afternoon.

It really is amazing seeing and hearing Ballmer in person. People make fun of him for his 'fake enthusiasm' -- but it isn't fake. He really believes in this company. It's cool to see.

Posted by Mike at 11:24 PM | Comments (1)

September 22, 2004

Alpha Cat

Pippin is clearly going to be the Alpha Cat. Despite Jake being bigger and older, Pippin is going to rule the house.

He proved this yesterday when he came trotting up to me as I sat on the couch, holding in his mouth his latest trophy: Jake's collar, which Pippin had ripped from Jake's neck.

Oh, yeah...

Posted by Mike at 10:58 PM | Comments (2)

September 28, 2004

TV as relaxation

Many people, when they come home from a long day at work, sit down in front of the TV to unwind. It is, for example, what my wife is doing right now.

I came home today from a long day at work where I spent several hours staring intently at a TV, turning aside only occasionally to make some adjustment or other to various video settings. The thought of coming home and sitting in front of a TV isn't all that appealing at this very moment.

This happens a lot with test content, too. There are some video clips that I've seen so many times that I can practically see them in my sleep. Years ago, I worked on the QuickTime team at Apple, where I saw the music video to Sarah McLachlan's "Building A Mystery" innumerable times. Even now, when I hear that song on the radio, I can see each frame of the video in my head -- including the compression artifacts of the video codec we were using at the time.

Posted by Mike at 09:33 PM

September 30, 2004

My vote for President

After watching tonight's Presidential debate, I realized that the choice for President of the United States is clear. America needs a President who:

  • Is a strong leader
  • Never wavers -- isn't a flip-flopper
  • Holds people accountable for their actions
  • Doesn't allow outside powers to have a veto when it comes to fighting terrorists
  • Will take the fight to the terrorists -- will fight them where they are, and not wait for them to come to us
  • Believes in a strong military
  • Is a strong, hands-on Commander-in-Chief
  • Means exactly what he says

The choice is clear.

Darth Vader for President.


Posted by Mike at 11:19 PM