Art in Occluded Light

I’m back in town again after a short trip to San Antonio to do some on-site work for a client. I can always use a few more frequent flyer miles.

Susan and I managed to get to the Dallas Museum of Art this weekend without incident (the last time we tried, my car self-destructed before we could get there). The exhibit we saw was entitled Degas to Picasso, Painters, Sculpters, and The Camera. It was a collection of paintings and sculptures by Degas, Gauguin, Mucha, Rodin, Picasso, and assorted other turn-of-the-century artists along with photographs taken by them or their assistants. The idea was to show how the new technology of photography influenced their work. In some cases the artists took immediate advantage of the technology by, for example, photographing models as studies for paintings. Others collected photographs of ancient artifacts and imitated the style or form in their own art. Oddly a few claimed publicly that photography had no place in art (even more oddly, after their death, large numbers of photographs were found in their studios and it turned out they were using them secretly in much the same way other artists were). In many cases photographs were displayed beside the paintings they had influenced.

Overall it was interesting but less so than some exhibits. And, as usual, the Dallas Museum of Art did a terrible job of lighting the works – in most cases you could only view a piece by standing between the light source and the work, thus casting a shadow on whatever you were trying to look at. If you haven’t seen it yet, you missed your last chance as the exhibit ended on May 7th and Dallas was the last stop in the US.

One Year of Weblog Provided by Newslog

Today marks the 1st anniversary of my on-line news postings. I posted the first of these more-or-less daily news updates on May 5, 1999. That’s a lot of old news to read. Since I hacked some syndication code into newslog in early March, these news entries have been echoed to Advogato as well. I expected most of the embedded links in my old entries would have gone bad by now but a suprising number of them still work. Now, let’s see if I can keep it up for another year.

I had an interesting experience Wednesday. I got picked to be in a focus group doing some marketing research for Verio. If you’ve been following my exciting news regularly, you may remember that we’ve had T1 downtime problems, DNS support problems, dupicate billing problems, and even dial-up problems with Verio in the past. When I got called to take part in a Verio focus group, I figured it would be a great chance to tell them what I thought of them. Turned out that of 10 people in the focus group, all but one had come with a similar history of catastrophically bad service and a similar desire to tell everyone what they thought. Almost everyone there had been a customer of prior to the Verio buyout and without exception we all rated Onramp as one the best ISPs we’d every used and Verio as the worst. I don’t know if they found out anything useful from us be we enjoyed getting paid to sit around sharing Verio horror stories for couple of hours.

And I’m sure everyone would like to hear about my latest car repairs. ;-) As I pulled out of the driveway yesterday morning, my muffler broke loose on one side and started dragging behind the car making horrible scraping sounds. It had apparently become so rusted that the mounting hardware broke. This is the Midas lifetime warranty muffler that I got to the replace the rusted-out Acura muffler I bought sometime back to replace the rusted-out free replacement muffler installed by the Acura dealer to replace the rusted-out factory muffler. Well, I figured with my lifetime warranty and Midas just down the street, it would be no big deal. So, I drove a couple of blocks with the completely unmuffled engine sounding like an Indy race car (combined with the lovely sound of metal scraping on asphault). When I got to Midas, I learned that while the muffler itself has a lifetime warranty, I have to pay for labor, mounting hardware, a large assortment of exhaust pipes, and a variety of other stuff totaling about $200. And to make things worse, I had to wait in a room filled with nothing but Sports Illustrated magazines and a TV showing an old episode of Knight Rider. Fun.

Number One on Seti@HOME Again

WooHoo! I’m number one on the Seti@HOME Team Slashdot stats again. Another 15 minutes of fame… Even though there are only a few boxes left here running the Seti@HOME software, I still check in on my stats every once in a while. Most of the people on Team Slashdot gave up long ago and I’ve been slowly moving up through the ranks. But I’m still falling farther behind all the time in the overall stats. I got as high 300th or so back when we had dozens of machines working on it but as more of the machines here went back to doing real work I’ve fallen to about 900th. Looks like Team Slashdot has fallen quite a ways in the Club stats too – they used to be number one.

A friend emailed me a link to Vigor today. Wow! now vi users can have an annoying Microsoft-like talking paperclip hopping around their Linux desktop. I don’t even use vi, so I found it particularly helpful when it offered messages such as “Are you sure you want to move the cursor left?”. And if you try to kill it, the response is “Are you sure you don’t want to close the Vigor assistant? Ok/Cancel”. Now, if they could just add a feature that would generate the BSOD randomly, I wouldn’t need Windows at all anymore.

Visitors on Webcam

An unexpected visitor stopped by the office today; Don Rainwater of Cincinati. He was in town with his wife for a few days and decided to pay us a visit. He likes to track down other Rainwaters when he travels. As it turns out we’re fourth cousins once removed (Susan determined the actual relationship using her genealogy software). Don’s sister, Betty does genealogy research on the Rainwater family and has known Susan through email for some time. Don brought his Polaroid and snapped a couple of pictures of Susan and I while we chatted in the conference room. I didn’t have my camera, but it did occur to me at the last minute that the Linux box running 2.3.99 that I’ve been testing the CPiA USB camera on was in the corner of the conference room happily snapping away every 15 seconds. Normally they aren’t saved, but I managed to grab one and save it.
[[image:don-rainwater.jpg:Don Rainwater:center:0]]
Not the best photo one could hope for but better than nothing.

The CPiA driver has turned out to be quite stable. I’m going to have to find the time to move the webcam into a more intersting location sometime soon.
[[image:webcam.jpg:NCC Webcam:center:0]]
I’ve decided the best location is probably the game room, where we can be seen playing Robotron 2084 or some other vintage arcade game from the 80’s (back when they still knew how to make good arcade games instead those games they have now that are mostly just cartoons of people kicking each other in the head).