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    A stream of consciousness from the brain of B.K. DeLong


    Trick or Treat! As

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 11:07:52 pm

    Trick or Treat!

    As I kept alluding to in previous posts, I did dress up for Halloween and handing out candy. href="javascript:void(0);">Check out my gallery to find out how the costume turned out.


    Methinks in their bitterness from

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 10:30:44 pm

    Methinks in their bitterness from losing out to Wall Street Journal
    Technology Reporter Ted Bridis
    on the Microsoft Hack story, the New York Times is being a tad overzealous in sucking down
    what the Microsoft PR flacks are handing them on a silver platter. First, that href="http://www.nytimes.com/2000/10/27/technology/27CND-SOFT.html">no source code was downloaded and second, that MS knew
    about the hackers and even tracked them through the whole

    Such greediness will only lead to disappointment when these publications will find out, in fact, the Microsoft is
    delivering a message chocked full of lies. Microsoft is apparently so incredibly paranoid about the rest of the real story
    getting out that its rumored they have resulted to gestapo threats to keep would-be information-leaking slave^H^H^Hemployees
    in line.

    Why would Microsoft go out of their way to diffuse their current public responses with utter crap and yet threaten to
    completely ruin the lives of employees who even answer a phone call from a reporter? Perhaps the real story makes the
    anti-trust issue look like a good thing. href="http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2595631,00.html?chkpt=zdnnrla">I wonder what Larry Ellison’s up

    You learn something new every

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 9:42:00 pm

    You learn something new every day. When I was at UMass I saw a singer-songwriter in
    concert at the Iron Horse Music Hall named Fred Small. Little did I know that he
    was to become a minister of the Littleton, MA First Church
    . Never would have guessed but he’s probably very good.

    I was looking at the tours for Rounder Records artists in MA and was
    wondering why the FCU in Littleton had some great folk singers showing up. Now I know.

    Just listened to a fabulous

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 1:28:16 pm

    Just listened to a fabulous interview of Joanna (JK)
    , author of the Harry Potter books on NPR’s Morning edition.


    Well, my “Halloween Costume” shopping

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 1:06:25 pm

    Well, my “Halloween Costume” shopping spree yesterday was an unmitigated disaster. My shopping list was fairly simple.

    I needed:

    • One hollow, whole Emu egg
    • One stuffed dragon
    • One stuffed cupid or angel wings
    • A wide leather belt with large buckle
    • A round bouncing ball of some sort
    • A good pair of hiking/workmans boots
    • A black pirate-style shirt
    • Gold paint
    • Glue
    • A homemade broom
    • A pink parasol

    I started the trip by trying to find a parking space closer to the center of town. Since I’ve spent most of my trips
    walking through Salem (I’m only a 5 minute walk from the town center) I didn’t realize how much of a pain-in-the-ass parking
    is in October. (Duh)

    I parked 2 blocks from my house. Worthless. So I walked towards the town common and hit every href="http://www.samcostumes.com">costume shop, witch store, href="http://www.plads.com/antiques/index.htm">antique dealer and arts/crafts place I could. The only thing I came out
    with was a beautifully smelling handmade broom. I was not a happy camper.

    There were several things on my list I was *sure* I could get at some of the stores I headed to. However the href="http://www.lauriecabot.com/unfinished.html">place I remember seeing Emu eggs at discontinued them. So I picked up my
    broom there instead.

    I went to a few renaissance clothing stores and several costume shops to try and find the belt, shirt and parasol. No one
    had real leather belts and all the black shirts were upwards of $80 to $200. I’m not paying that much for a Halloween costume.
    My belt search was no better. Stores either had regular leather belts or wide, crappy plastic ones from “pirate costumes in a
    bag.” And no one had a pink parasol in site - not even the antique shops. One woman told me it’s because the old ones have
    rotted away. However my mother had one up in her attic before she moved and must have given it away at a yard sale.

    So I walked back to my car with the broom in a large bag and then, tired and dejectedly, drove home. I decided to see what
    I could find on the Web since I had already ordered my
    beard, wig
    and mustache set
    on one site. Sure enough, I found a href="http://www.renstore.com/cgi-bin/Renstore.storefront/39f9b3860019cdc62740d8a19aef0753/Product/View/VAG&2DE003&2D1″>great
    black shirt that was just my size. I should be getting both the beard and shirt by Saturday.

    All that was left was “Norbert” and the “ href="http://www.cliphoto.com/potter/harrycatch.jpg">Golden Snitch“. So I called around to a few crafts stores ( href="http://www.acmoore.com/">AC Moore, Jo-Ann’s Fabrics and Crafts, and href="http://www.michaels.com/">Michaels) to see if they had an emu egg. No luck - but they did have Styrofoam ostrich
    eggs. Good enough for me. I headed over to the mall where I found the rest of my supplies.

    From AC Moore, I got my Styrofoam ostrich egg, a Styrofoam ball for the “Golden Snitch", gold and black Styrofoam spray
    paint, 2 different types of angel wings for the snitch (in the doll section) and Styrofoam-safe glue. Finding the stuffed
    dragon that I could steal the wings and tail from was far more difficult. The first mall I went to had two educational toy
    stores. I had to go to the second local mall where the KBToys and href="http://www.toysrus.com">Toys R Us were to find what I was looking for.

    After I picked up my dragon, I started looking
    for a place to find a good pair of boots. The 3 shoe stores I went to were charging huge amounts of money for shoes I’d wear
    out in six months. As it turns out JC Pennys (a place I wouldn’t have been caught dead in as a kid), had a great pair of Big
    Mac oil-resistant, waterproof, tan work boots with a 6in steel toe. Ahhhhhh and they had a 13W. I was in heaven.

    I’ll put a series of pictures up as I’m making the various costume parts and props. I know I get annoyed when people talk
    about doing stuff but leave no information about HOW they did it for the artistically-challenged like me.

    I just sent the following

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 12:41:07 pm

    I just sent the following note to the Nader
    and copied the MoveOn.org folks as well as several href="http://www.lcv.org/">environmental groups, Unions and other href="http://www.now.org">PACs that claimed a “Vote for Nader if a Vote for Bush. Shame on them.


    My condolences to Jeffrey Zeldman

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 10:20:48 am

    My condolences to Jeffrey Zeldman on the death of his
    . Unfortunately, the only family funeral I’ve ever been to was my Great-Grandmother’s. Recently I went to my
    second-funeral ever, the mother of my old UMass boss. I guess I should be thankful that no one close to me has ever died. But
    being sheltered from death, I believe, only makes me less prepared to face it.

    I wish you the best, Jeff.


    Add Vote Exchange to the

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 3:14:24 pm

    Add Vote Exchange to the list of “Nader Trader"-type sites.

    UPDATE: I e-mailed Prof. Raskin

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 12:50:09 pm

    UPDATE: I e-mailed Prof. Raskin who
    mentioned that a “Nader Trader” is already underway at: href="http://www.nadertrader.org">http://www.nadertrader.org. Please pass the word.

    For the last few months, I’ve been a staunch supporter of Ralph Nader. Primarily
    because I just got tired of listening to Al Gore and hearing him couch each and every statement, answer and comment to
    whatever audience he was addressing to the point where what he was saying was completely devoid of any truth or heart. I can’t
    stand that!

    Anyway, it wasn’t until this week that I started to worry that my vote for Nader could put George W Bush in the White
    House. I can’t bear not to vote with my heart - my convictions are important to me at this stage of my life. At the same time,
    I’m newly married and thinking of a family. I don’t want someone like Bush href="http://www.issues2000.org/George_W__Bush.htm#Abortion” title="Can he make up his mind?">dictating policy over my wife’s
    ovaries, laughing off alternative religions, or title="OK, biased, I know…but still a decent analysis. I just don’t like Bush. Can you tell??">making tax cuts that
    primarily benefit the rich
    . It’s ridiculous.

    I’m still going to vote Nader, because Massachusetts title="Doesn’t mean they were always right….and they did vote Republican a few times">has always voted strongly
    . But what about other states? American University professor href="http://www.wcl.american.edu/faculty/raskin/index.html">Jamin Raskin has come up with href="http://slate.msn.com/Concept/00-10-24/Concept.asp">a phenomenal idea. It basically goes like this: Nader supporters
    vote in states where Gore is hard-pressed to get votes provided Gore supporters in swing-states hold fast. It’s a little
    risque and strays from the “vote with your heart” principle that I’ve been touting for the last few weeks. However if I could
    guarantee that my second choice gets elected and still give Nader enough votes to get funding for the next election (and be
    able to participate in debates) then I’m all for it!

    Let’s get Votester going!

    Goin’ green for the cause!

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 11:13:30 am

    Goin’ green for the cause!
    (Courtesy of veruca at href="http://www.metafilter.com">MetaFilter.)

    I’m getting totally obsessed with

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 11:05:31 am

    I’m getting totally obsessed with this “Hagrid” (Harry Potter) costume I’ve been working on. Hagrid is described as having
    beetle-black eyes. Therefore I spent a good bit of time scouring the Web for theater or costume contacts that would render my
    eyes “beetle-black” instead of the hazel-green that they are. The most prominent on the Web seems to be “ href="http://www.wild-eyes.com">Wild Eyes“. Unfortunately they only seem to have specialty contacts with specific costumes
    in mind. They have a “red hot” option that is all red
    but that seemed to be it.

    I stopped into the optometrist at the mall while running some errands and noticed they sold Wild Eyes. I explained my
    quandary and asked if they knew of anyone who might sell plain, black contacts. She mentioned that a company called href="http://www.coopervision.com">Cooper Vision had a line coming out but they haven’t received anything yet.

    I took to the Web and found the Cooper Vision Web site down…but found their new “ href="http://www.aclens.com/crazylenses.htm">Crazy Lenses” line at ACLens.com. Hmmm.
    Still no luck.

    However….on the same site, I found a line called “GameFace” which
    does have different single-color lenses. Excellent!

    Well, sort of. Then I realize that I still need to get an eye exam in order to have the contact lenses fitted. Blech.

    Maybe next year.

    I finally stabilized my SHOUTcast

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 10:26:17 am

    I finally stabilized my SHOUTcast server. Since all href="http://www.brain-stream.com/radio/currentplaylist.html">my MP3s are on my laptop, I created href="http://radio.brain-stream.com">a stable server on a machine with a static IP and broadcast from my laptop through
    that server. I’ve got 2 relay servers rebroadcasting the static server - one on my laptop and another on a static machine.

    I still have some tweaking to do but it’s coming along quite well. I hope to give people direct access to be able to
    “listen” and view the current song without having to connect to the main server page first. Stay tuned…..


    I am addicted to Harry

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 11:13:03 am

    I am addicted to Harry Potter. Which is quite surprising considering I hadn’t read
    or listened to any of the books until the last week in September. Kirky had just gotten back from visiting her parents who let
    her borrow the first two books (”Sorcerer’s Stone
    and “Chamber of Secrets“) on tape. So I
    begrudgingly listened to them so I could get caught up to where she was and we could both listen to them on the way to our
    vacation on Cape Cod.


    I was hooked. I had already like SciFi/Fantasy books but this one was different. I can’t articulate my interest in these
    books but suffice it to say we spent a day walking through Provincetown on vacation looking for the next 2 books on tape (” href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0807282316/brainstream">Prisoner of Azkaban” and “ href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0807282588/brainstream">Goblet of Fire“)
    and purchased them as well. I am eagerly awaiting the fifth book and the movie planned to be released next year. I’m even
    working on a Halloween costume to become Rubeous Hagrid the
    Hogswart Gameskeeper. (Yes, I may be a little old for trick-or-treating but when you live in a town like Salem, MA….the
    entire month of October is Halloween and everyone participates.)

    You’ll see snippets here and there about new movie casting announcements or bits of gossip for the book. I’m so tired of
    the lack of fansites out there that I’m tempted to make one myself.

    What a pain-in-the-ass morning. I’m

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 10:24:51 am

    What a pain-in-the-ass morning. I’m working at home this week since most of ZOT
    Group staff
    is off at ApacheCon 2000 Europe. I asked Kirky to stay home so she
    could give marching orders to the guy we’ve hired to finish painting out kitchen for us. We’ve quickly realized over the past
    year of owning a house that it’s much easier to pay someone to do the job right the first time then to do it poorly ourselves
    and have to pay someone to fix it.

    This guy was originally scheduled to come a few weeks ago. It would have been done if it wasn’t for him “penciling me in”
    and waiting for a confirmation. He didn’t think to call me and see what’s up - he just erased me out of his book. That
    particular day, Kirky waited at home for 3 hours and ended up taking the day off.

    So she rescheduled it to this morning and waited. In between waiting, we lost my cell phone. Kirky did a phenomenal job
    cleaning the living room and kitchen while I was being a slug all weekend and somehow we lost my cell phone. I looked
    everywhere, blaming her for moving it since I had remembered turning it off early in the morning when the batteries went dead.
    Sure enough after an hour of “The Blame Game” she found it in the front seat of the car- where I had left it while running
    errands yesterday.

    It’s now 2hrs 20min since the time Kirky had written down that this guy was going to come. She called him at his office
    with no response, left a message and finally left for work an hour ago.

    We’re just not having any luck here…..


    I love my cats…..really, I

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 2:55:08 pm

    I love my cats…..really, I do. However two weekends ago when I was doing laundry in the basement, I opened up the 3
    windows that had hand-made screens I put together based on kits from Home Depot. As I headed downstairs to do another load, I
    noticed our oldest cat Chelsie (an 11 year old white American shorthair) sitting outside one of the windows.

    I FREAKED. Chelsie had lived outside several years ago when she was staying with Kirky’s parents. I had always feared she
    longed for that time again. But true to my prediction, she popped back inside after I opened a can of wet cat food within
    ear-shot. It wasn’t for an hour later that I realized Nessa (our cute imp of a gray Maine coon…1 yr old in June) was
    nowhere to be found. I walked all over the neighborhood, in our neighbor’s backyards and just sat inside. Kirky was at her
    grandmother’s and I was alone. Finally I caught sight of her in our neighbor’s yard a little while later. I headed out with
    the can of food and ….she didn’t fall for it.

    So I chased her back into the front. Sure enough, she ran around the front yard and sat in front of the window. Although
    for some reason….she wouldn’t go in. Kirky arrived to find me distraught and went to the basement. One “cat-calling” later
    and Nessa was in her arms. *sigh* I just don’t have the right touch.

    Cute Nessa and sleeping, sunbathing Chelsie

    Kirky was in the basement while I was still sleeping this morning cleaning up. I looked out the front door after I slumped
    down the stairs and, much to my horror, found Chelsie outside again. Kirky was livid…since she had just repaired the screen
    before leaving the window open. However she was the calmist of the two of us and I remained depressed, paranoid and sat
    nursing a painful headache resulting from oversleeping.

    Almost 8 hours later, (after we shut Chelsie in the upstairs bedroom) Nessa came meowing her way saunteringly into the
    living room in search of food and a place to use the bathroom. Harrumph. What are we? A cat hotel ;)

    I couldn’t have been happier. Needless to say, we’ll be affixing both of them with new collars and I’m tempted to inject them
    both with GPS locating transmitters.

    So I’ve been playing with

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 2:24:32 pm

    So I’ve been playing with my SHOUTcast server…..and am going crazy. I am running the server off my
    laptop, and due to various bandwidth restrictions, can only have 6 listeners at once. So I set up 2 relay servers. But since
    I’m on a laptop and can be connected at any number of places, I created a
    that I could point these servers to. In my httpd.conf file, I’d redirect this forward to wherever my laptop was

    So now I’ve got this problem of my relay servers connecting to my primary one and not following-through with the forward.
    Grrrrrrr. Back to the drawing board. I think one of my relay servers will become the primary server since they’re static. Not
    what I wanted….but oh well.


    *sigh* Did I call it

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 10:49:41 am

    *sigh* Did I call it or what? Here’s another
    Boston Globe article
    covering scandal within the UMass system. Why can’t they ever
    cover the good stuff?

    However, despite past nonsensical articles, this one covers both sides well. I think Bulger has an excellent point about
    needing to move quickly as it often appears that everything political at UMass seems to go slower than molasses undulating
    uphill in January. I say this from personal experience of being a student representative in my time at UMass on several IT
    committees including that of the Faculty Senate. However I also agree with many of the sentiments of the professors. If no
    academic guidelines have been discussed nor has it been made clear who owns rights to what is taught, then UMass Online will
    have some serious problems.

    I hate to do the big “In my day” speech, but when I first went to UMass I caused havoc being the first undergraduate to
    have an on-campus Web site at the University, was responsible for the creation of many departmental and division Web sites on
    campus, and was the only student in my classes who was looking up the e-mails of people who wrote the books and papers I had
    to read for class and ask them questions. Many professors were still getting used to the whole idea of e-mail and the Web (and
    this was in 1994-1998), many fearful of having to learn about it.

    You can’t rush this process without covering the bases needed in order to stem the fears of both the teachers
    and students. You can’t mandate change without their being clear contingencies, guidelines, and comfort level
    with the process. Otherwise students will suffer. Keep the pace up but don’t just address the logistics of getting the systems
    up and online - take care of the people problems too.

    The Massachusetts Board of Higher

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 10:09:03 am

    The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education has href="http://digitalmass.boston.com/news/daily/10/17/laptops_required.html">unanimously decided to require all students to
    purchase laptops at the state’s many colleges and Universities. They will, of
    course, give vouchers to low income students, those with financial aid, and I’m sure anyone getting scholarships will have
    their latop as part of the deal. Being the intrepid (read: nosy) soul that I am, I’ve pestered the plan’s href="http://yahoo.marketguide.com/mgi/biograph.asp?nss=yahoo&rt=biograph&rn=9349A#Offr_37692″>chief architect via e-mail
    and managed to get someone to send me an electronic copy of the plan. It’s in powerpoint, but you can still read it. href="files/umasslaptopplan2000.ppt">Here it is - note that it’s 600K in size. If you’re too cheap to buy Office, then
    download their Powerpoint Viewer.

    I’m waiting for the political fallout from this plan to hit the street. UMass Amherst, (my
    alma mater), is very well-known across New England to have a lot of protest-happy (read: whiny) graduate students. Don’t get
    me wrong…I’m all for a little civil disobedience now and again however these people protest over the pettiest things and
    often have no concept of real world issues. Unfortunately, it appears that the student newspaper href="http://www.dailycollegian.com">The Daily Collegian appears to be “under construction” so all I can do is watch local
    WMass news and keep an eye on the UMass-scandal-happy Boston Globe. Who knows…maybe
    the well-written faculty and staff paper Campus Chronicle will also have some
    great stuff.

    Ugg. I can’t believe I’m

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 9:37:07 am

    Ugg. I can’t believe I’m actually developing a Web site after all these years. It’s been nice having my href="http://www.zotgroup.com">work site as my only responsibility for many months…and since we’re a Web standards
    consultancy, the site is pretty standards-compliant (read: non-flashy). But I just have too much to say and talk about…so
    I’m afraid it’s time to crank this Blog out. This site will change quite a few times over the next few weeks….but mostly
    because I’m trying to get the design right.

    It’s been a while since

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 9:10:55 am

    It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Been trying to sort things out. You’ll be seeing a lot more, I promise ;)

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