Two Movies and a Blowout

I finally got around to posting a freshmeat update for the latest version of newslog. There are a couple of bug fixes and a few new features. It’s the first update in nearly a year.

Susan and I went to see Miss Congeniality last night. It was okay – definitely a see-once sort of movie but it was good for a few laughs. We saw Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon last week and I forgot to post a review – it was a good movie and worth seeing but has really, really cheesy fighting sequences. Apparently, anyone who possessed the magic green sword was able to fly (also anyone who previously possessed the sword, or knew someone who possessed it, or fought with someone who knew someone who possessed, etc…) and not just fly but sort of float as if they were full of helium. During at least one fight, people kept floating up in the air like balloons and had to be pulled back to Earth periodically to prevent them from drifting away before the fight was over. In other scenes they would swing back in forth over the house-tops as if hung from wires while pretending to run (even though their feet weren’t touching anything). At other times they flew more-or-less like Superman – arms outstreched and horizontal to the ground. There was never really any explanation – were they using the force? was it magic? One other minor complaint was that they used the fake-floating technique to compensate for lack of actual martial arts skills sometimes. There were several moves that I’ve seen actually done by humans under their own power in Jackie Chan movies that were faked in this movie by swinging people around on wires (such as ascending from ground level to roof top by bouncing between the walls of two adjacent buildings). Oh well, if you overlook the silly fighting it was actually a fairly interesting story and quite enjoyable to watch. Another see-once movie.

More interestingly, I had a blow-out in the right rear tire of my Integra on the way out to the movie theater last night. I put on that tiny little spare tire thing which most cars have in place of a real spare these days and it turned out to be flat (which is not suprising considering it’s been sitting in the trunk for 10 years). We stopped at a gas station and bought enough air to fill up the spare. Today we got some new tires. I’m planning on a buying a new car sometime this year. The Acura was great while it lasted but after 10 years the maintenance costs are getting high enough that I might as well just buy a new one.

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.

Advogato First Post

Assuming my patches to newslog and to mod_virgule work, this will be my first post to go to both my home page and to my diary simultaneously. If nothing blows up, I’ll probably post a freshmeat announcement later tonight in case anyone else wants to sync up news/diary entries on their personal home pages to their diary.

Newslog bugs

I’ve been getting more feedback about the newslog script lately. It’s probably due to the recent announcement on Freshmeat. A couple of security bugs and the need for better documentation have been pointed out and I’ll probably tackle these in a new release soon. This week has been very busy and next week looks the same but at some point in the near future I’ll find the time to get a new release out.