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03 July 2003

Microsoft

You didn't really think Microsoft was going to keep giving you Internet Explorer for free forever, did you? And you Windows users -- you didn't really think MS was just discontinuing new free versions of IE for the mac, did you?

If so you were mistaken. MS will no longer be offering new standalone versions of IE for any platform -- and it could turn out to be the best thing that's happened to browsers in a while..

So, you Windows users (that includes me) who think you might want a browser with new features from time to time without necessarily upgrading your OS when Microsoft says jump -- may I suggest Mozilla? In fact, may I suggest Mozilla Firebird?

I've been using it for a few weeks now, and love it. It is more customizable, more standards compliant, and has a vibrant development community. Oh yeah, and it's free.

Sometimes free IS better.

On that note, we'll also be switching over this holiday weekend from MT to Nucleus, another example of a wonderful piece of open-source software with ongoing development.

[Posted at 16:22 CST on 07/03/03] [Link] [TrackBack (0)]

02 July 2003

Psych Test

Thanks to Alex, I found this wonderful little distraction earlier, an online psych test that concluded the following about me:

Auditory : 33%
Visual : 66%
Left : 66%
Right : 33%

kevin, you are somewhat left-hemisphere dominant and show a preference for visual learning, although not extreme in either characteristic. You probably tend to do most things in moderation, but not always.

Your left-hemisphere dominance implies that your learning style is organized and structured, detail oriented and logical. Your visual preference, though, has you seeking stimulation and multiple data. Such an outlook can overwhelm structure and logic and create an almost continuous state of uncertainty and agitation. You may well suffer a feeling of continually trying to "catch up" with yourself.

Your tendency to be organized and logical and attend to details is reasonably well-established which should afford you success regardless of your chosen field of endeavor. You can "size up" situations and take in information rapidly. However, you must then subject that data to being classified and organized which causes you to "lose touch" with the immediacy of the problem.

Your logical and methodical nature hamper you in this regard though in the long run it may work to your advantage since you "learn from experience" and can go through the process more rapidly on subsequent occasions.

You remain predominantly functional in your orientation and practical. Abstraction and theory are secondary to application. In keeping with this, you focus on details until they manifest themselves in a unique pattern and only then work with the "larger whole."

With regards to your career choices, you have a mentality that would be good as a scientist, coach, athlete, design consultant, or an engineering technician. You can "see where you want to go" and even be able to "tell yourself," but find that you are "fighting yourself" at the darndest times.

There you have it.

[Posted at 22:12 CST on 07/02/03] [Link] [TrackBack (0)]

Rockets

I've said I don't think much of the job Carroll Dawson and Rudy Tomjanovich have done in talent acquisition over the last few (non-playoff) years. Aside from Cuttino Mobley, Steve Francis, and Yao Ming (yeah yeah, my doubts about that one were WRONG), talent acquisition has been a bust (including Eddie Griffin, who hasn't contributed much).

Apparently Jeff Van Gundy feels the same way, as his Rockets won't be pursuing the team's last two second-round draft picks (now free agents). Second-round picks need to contribute SOMETHING to the team. These guys didn't, and that happened all too often with players Rudy T/Carroll Dawson acquired/drafted over the past few years.

[Posted at 06:42 CST on 07/02/03] [Link] [TrackBack (0)]

01 July 2003

Aftershock

As a result of the ACC expansion, Louisville is almost certainly going to move to the Big East, which is a step up for them.

That may well cause Conference USA to splinter (good riddance).

And that will leave Houston looking for a new conference.

The WAC apparently would love to have the Coogs, Tulane, and TCU, which would allow it to split into eastern and western halves and make it slightly less of a joke of an athletic conference (although not a whole lot less). When the eastern part of your conference is mainly composed of the losers of the old SWC (although Houston had some good years), it's hard to say much. Except it does potentially make for better rivalries than UH-Memphis or UH-Army (really, who gives a flying f*ck?). I mean, Rice-UH conference competition in baseball suddenly becomes even more interesting than competing for the Silver Glove. Throw in Tulane and even TCU, and at least that sport could be decent. Unfortunately, it's not a revenue sport. *sigh*

I still remember back when UH's AD (can't recall which dunderhead it was at the time) sat back and watched the elite teams of the SWC bolt to the Big 12, all the time thinking he would get an invite to the SEC and show them. Umm, sure. That worked out. Now, I'm sitting here thinking the WAC-East sounds like an improvement in many ways to the current situation. Stay tuned.

[Posted at 23:28 CST on 07/01/03] [Link] [TrackBack (0)]

I Need Some Football

Remember how the new baseball stadium was going to boost the Astros' budget?

Yeah, I remember hearing that a lot.

And all I've read since the opening of the Juice Container with so many bad seats are things like this:

Hunsicker has attempted to trade for a veteran starting pitcher for more than a month. His problem is that the available pitchers are either little better than what he has on the staff or have contracts beyond his budget.
Thanks, Drayton.

Good gawd, I hate this time of the year. One, it's hotter than hell, and two, football is still weeks away.

Damnit, I need my Bill Parcells training camp to get underway! I need to see Mack Brown quake before the power of the Bob Stoops visor. Hell, I'm even looking forward to see what Art Briles cooks up here in town (now that Houston is trying a coach with a man's first name, the results can't help but be better than what Kim and Dana produced).

[Posted at 21:20 CST on 07/01/03] [Link] [TrackBack (0)]

Cyberonic

I've experienced my second instance of downtime with the good folks at Cyberonic DSL. They didn't get things resolved as quickly as last time (again, it was an MCI/Worldcom network issue) and estimated things would be fixed sooner than they were (this is really beyond their control), but the downtime was still a little over 12 hours.

Still far preferable to Time Warner/Road Runner. *shudder* Things are flying again at the moment. And it came at a good time, as we were entertaining friends anyway (a refrain, of late, as we've been having various guests in Houston for about a week now -- very enjoyable, in fact).

Oh, and when did Worldcom decide to go with the MCI name? Smooth move, to be sure, but I guess I missed it when it happened. Personally, though, I might have gone with the less ubiquitous uunet. It's not as if most people don't associate MCI and Worldcom, but uunet... that's a puzzler (except to geeks).

[Posted at 17:07 CST on 07/01/03] [Link] [TrackBack (0)]

Yeah Yeah, It's Coming

Okay, so I really hoped to roll out the new design and cms and all to start this month. But obviously, the month has started and the thing isn't quite ready to go. But at some point over the July 4 weekend, I'll probably take it live.

[Posted at 16:56 CST on 07/01/03] [Link] [TrackBack (0)]

30 June 2003

Official

That little piece of paper with those three initials on it finally came in the mail today.

Meaning it's official.

And no, until I got that piece of paper, I was still treating it as unofficial. One should never underestimate the ability of the University of Houston to screw things up administratively.

But I don't think anything can be screwed up at this point. I now feel free to have that "official" celebratory beer with Kuffner. Well, if he's still buying. :)

[Posted at 16:33 CST on 06/30/03] [Link] [TrackBack (0)]

More Redistricting

I appreciate the honesty here:

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas, was chairwoman of the state Senate redistricting committee in 1991. She told a gathering in 1997 that the redistricting process "is not one of kindness. It is not one of sharing. It is a power grab."
That's the nature of the beast all right. Sit back, folks, this is going to be interesting.

Further down, the authors of the piece lament that so much redistricting has turned into incumbent protection. But it is a political process, and why should we expect otherwise from politicians? Indeed, so many of the same people who lament that redistricting is unfair incumbent protection also lament term limits initiatives intended to eradicate that problem.

It is a conundrum sometimes for idealists who wish to believe we live in a society that is good by nature, but instead discover it is more Hobbesian than they thought (but not more Hobbesian than the architects of our political system thought, interestingly enough). Perhaps, to go somewhat Randian, a check of premises is in order?

[Posted at 10:10 CST on 06/30/03] [Link] [TrackBack (0)]

29 June 2003

Texas Redistricting

Kuffner went to Houston's redistricting meeting and has posted more details than you'll be able to find from any of Houston's professional news services.

Well worth a read with your coffee.

[Posted at 13:08 CST on 06/29/03] [Link] [TrackBack (0)]

You Tell 'Em

One of many reasons we love Pineapple Girl (aside from the fact she's sweet and has excellent taste in music) is that she's passionate about things.

Usually it's silly liberal things (just giving ya a hard time), but here she's defending her gawd-given right as a Texan to drive her SUV and not feel guilty about it.

Oh, and this is interesting:

Have a gander at this. SUVs are taller than cars, obviously -- but they aren't usually very much longer or wider, thereby taking up all the surface area, like people assume. My Ford Explorer is 70.2 inches wide. A Honda Accord is 71.5 inches wide. Yet, that Accord qualifies for the "compact car" parking spaces, while the dastardly Explorer does not. Gah! How dare I park a vehicle that is actually slimmer than a Honda Accord in a compact space?
THAT is something to think about, hmm?

Readers of this space know that I just adore my Jeep Liberty. LOVE IT. And it actually takes up less space than many many cars (probably a little less than an Explorer, though I'm too lazy to look up exact dimensions). But since I'm a tool of Big Oil, I realize I'm not to be trusted on this topic. That's why I'm happy to point ya over to my friend on this one.

[Posted at 12:29 CST on 06/29/03] [Link] [TrackBack (0)]

The Retarded Comical

I cannot make any sense of this editorial in the Comical. Maybe some of the baboons in the Comical offices have been listening to audiobooks of Dickens? That's about as close as I can figure.

Callie sent it to me with these questions:

the lawsuits are good? the lawsuits are bad? the justice system is good?
the justice system is bad? the execs need to pay for their crimes
literally? the execs won't have enough money to pay for their crimes
literally? entities were right in penalizing enron? too many entities are
penalizing enron?

WHAT THE HELL IS THE POINT OF THIS?

i guess there is no point. editiorials in the comical are basically
checklists that have no beginning, end, middle, or point.

True.

Personally, though, I like this sentence:

Complicated by the many criminal charges leveled and likely to be brought, lengthy discovery proceedings in the civil lawsuits has yet to begin.

Proceedings has yet to begin.

Brilliant.

Dickens would surely be proud.

[Posted at 00:28 CST on 06/29/03] [Link] [TrackBack (0)]

28 June 2003

Email

Okay, it seems I'm having more email troubles tonight. Things are bouncing for some unknown reason.

So, if you need to get something to me, please send it to: publiustx@yahoo.com

Sorry about the inconvenience.

(Update) The email should be working fine now. Our host did some upgrades tonight, which did something funny to my master control panel. Long story, seems fine now.

[Posted at 22:39 CST on 06/28/03] [Link] [TrackBack (0)]

Not-So-Sweet Lou

I loved Lou Piniella when I was a kid watching baseball.

I loved all of those Yankees of that era -- Nettles and Guidry and Chambliss and Dent and, yes, Reggie.

Those guys were all men.

I don't know what to say about some of the angsty crybaby millionaires in MLB today:

"That was pretty intense words he was throwing out there yesterday. I was actually wondering if I would even be coming to the field today after that,'' Grieve said. "I don't know. I'm kind of scared to go approach the guy right now. I don't know what to say.''

Intense is when Jessica Lynch finds herself in an Iraqi hospital, not when your manager wonders why your head is stuck up your ass. Suck it up and play ball.

[Posted at 16:52 CST on 06/28/03] [Link] [TrackBack (0)]

Aggies

Texas A&M is a fine institution of higher learning, and I like plenty of Aggies.

But some of the traditions are just a wee bit strange.

Like swatting each other on the ass with an axe handle in a barn.

What, you ask? Whited is surely confused! Maybe drunk. Maybe heatstroke (heatstruck?).

Nope.

Here ya go, from the Austin American-Statesman:

It was just after 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12, when the first ax handle swung.

It took only a fraction of a second as that handle, wielded by a Texas A&M University junior, arced its way across a short distance to the buttocks of a sophomore, where its flat surface landed with a solid smack.

That brief moment set the stage for one of the largest disciplinary actions in the history of Texas A&M. Since then, 77 cadets from the university's elite cavalry unit have been singled out for punishment. Threats of criminal charges have been made. Now, a lawsuit is pending against the school on behalf of the cadets being disciplined.

That smack was the first of many that sounded that afternoon. A cascade of more than 300 others followed, as ax handles slapped against 27 backsides in the Parsons Mounted Cavalry hay barn.

No injuries were reported. No sophomore complained. The smacks themselves were not even particularly loud. Delivered as "half-swats" (with a swing that began at the waist) and muffled by the surrounding bales of hay, they barely sounded outside the barn.

Apparently, the university has decided this is an act of hazing, and is considering punishments. This action, of course, has produced the same response from hardcore Aggies as when the university decided it was probably not a good idea to allow unsurpervised, untrained students to build huge structures and set them on fire (because they might, you know, collapse and kill people):

"A&M has always been steeped in tradition," said John A. Adams, a historian and 1973 A&M graduate who has written several books on the history of the school.

"Most of it was military, and there's always been some hazing, but it was certainly not a secret.

"But I doubt if there'd be so much interest in this case if it didn't involve the Corps. There've always been those who were ready to take a shot at the Corps."

Ah yes, the world is always out to get the Aggie Cadet Corps. UT's Bevo probably had something to do with it.

Bizarre.

[Posted at 13:44 CST on 06/28/03] [Link] [TrackBack (0)]

I Hate Leeches

In person, it seems Kate is not nearly so venomous as her blogging would have us believe.

She seems like a bit of a sweetheart, actually, and man, do leeches like her neighbor know how to take advantage.

Problem is, Kate wants to establish a boundary, assuming the neighbor is reasonable. But there's the bad assumption. The neighbor isn't reasonable, and there's probably no way to establish such a boundary as one might establish with a good, reasonable neighbor. The boundary, in this case, is almost certainly to be a "sorry, I can't help you" for a while. For a long while. Maybe forever.

Kev <--- feeling like a post-objectivist hardass today.

[Posted at 13:08 CST on 06/28/03] [Link] [TrackBack (0)]

Slide

After a brief run of good baseball, the Astros' slide back to mediocrity continues.

At least Scott's happy with the outcome.

[Posted at 12:53 CST on 06/28/03] [Link] [TrackBack (0)]

How Thoughtful

How pleasant of the strapping young man next door to allow his overweight mom the pleasure of carrying his moving boxes around in the Houston heat and humidity today.

Surely she needed the exercise, right?

Since dude has lived next door, I've wondered if he has any brain function above the minimal level required to feed and dress himself and park his car like a jackass. Anecdotal evidence accumulated over a few months suggests not.

(Update) Mom just took mop and cleaning equipment from the place of aforementioned jackass to her car. Because mom probably has nothing better to do on a saturday than clean up after her ingrate son.

[Posted at 11:33 CST on 06/28/03] [Link] [TrackBack (0)]

Lovely

Police Chief Crime Lab and The Boy Who Would Be Mayor both are named in a new lawsuit related to the infamous K-Mart raids.

Excellent!

I can't imagine this suit having much success. but it does just warm the heart to see our city leaders achieving such great things.

[Posted at 01:51 CST on 06/28/03] [Link] [TrackBack (0)]

27 June 2003

Vacation Day

Thursdays like the one yesterday mandate taking a vacation day (which was much needed anyway, because the office was getting on my nerves) and regrouping....

So I'm much enjoying the time away from the office hanging at Kaveh Kanes, which may have the coldest A/C in town (sorry, Diedrich's Montrose, but you're close still). And nice wi-fi. And free iced tea/coffee of the day refills. Too easy, after catching a ride downtown with Callie (poor thing is actually WORKING today).

So, the Thursday night included:

Randy Rogers at a bizarre promotion at Blanco's that seemed highly disorganized. We thought we would have to bail in the middle of his set, but apparently he was asked to stop early. Unclear why. The band sounded great. I't's obvious they've been on the road a lot.

Many margaritas at Spanish Village for a birthday party. Powerful margaritas.

A brief stay at Last Concert Cafe, where the house band sucked, and the people outside in the dark corner smoking a bong creeped Callie out (I was oblivious because, well, I tend not to stare at creepy people in dark corners). Fortunately, we did not stay long (about five minutes).

A longer stay at the Firehouse, where we closed down the place, Callie hit the Jaeger machine, and Rodger Wilko played with lots of energy. There were no hippies in any dark corners spotted, nor any bongs.

We're planning a little more laid back night tonight, giving a friend who's in town and free a slightly more mellow look at the Bayou City.

[Posted at 15:50 CST on 06/27/03] [Link] [TrackBack (0)]

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