The Big Think

December 30, 2004

GOODBYE (If you can even read this)

Filed under: Computing — jasony @ 1:35 am

I want to issue a sincere apology to anyone who has been trying to access thebigthink the last few weeks. Unfortunately, the plague of comment spammers, coupled with the fact that thebigthink is hosted on a Movable Type version that’s is several years out of date, has effectively shut down almost all traffic to my blog. If you can even access the page, you know that it’s a hit or miss proposition. I estimate that I can load the page only 30% of the time because the database is constantly rebuilding as a result of incessant spam comments. I counted a few months ago before the problem got really bad and came up with 900 spam comments- in one day… this machine is really infected). Unfortunately, I’m not in the position to change the situation as it’s hosted for free on a friend’s machine and he has full-time job and family responsibilities. I imagine that once he carves out a hole in his schedule, the problem may go away, but that may not be for awhile.

You may know that I was in the habit of making as many as 10-15 posts on some days. I tried to build traffic by having something interesting to say, and I endeavored to keep the material fairly fresh- obeying the blogging rule of “keep the new stuff coming”. I was proud when I passed 10 readers per day, then 20, then 30, then 40. I was on my way to a thousand hits per month-hey, it’s not much compared to some people, but if 1000 pairs of eyes want to read what I write every month, I’ll take it. December was going to be that month, but the inability of the swamped server to respond has effectively trained all my old readers to not even try. I’ve seen a drastic dropoff in hits as people just assume that thebigthink is gone for good. As the server problems have gotten worse, my ability to post has decreased dramatically. Sometimes I have had to sit at my computer hitting “post” for 10 or 20 minutes until the server responds, and I have better things to do with my time.

I have really enjoyed blogging the past year of my life. It’s been a great creative outlet, it’s kept me in touch with family and friends, it’s helped me refine my writing, and it has acted as a sort of time capsule for my thoughts. I’d say that looking back at old posts has been entertaining, but the state of the hosting machine keeps me from even doing that.


I’m sad to say that this will be my last post for awhile. If the server stays in its current state, it may be my last post ever. I am far too busy to put up with the daily frustration this has caused me for the last few months. Bummer

If you manage to get through to see this and have any comments, please email me directly at jasony (at my mac d0t com address). Until then, the only things that will benefit from my blog are be the google pageranks of the $&%! viagra, poker, and cialis sites. Glad I could help you. Losers.

By the way, I had to hit “post” six times before it took)


Acme Catalog

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 1:03 am

Ever wonder where the Coyote got his Anvils? Or where Marvin the Martian got his Plutonium 238? Why, from the Acme Catalog, of course!

December 29, 2004

Goodbye Lumiere

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 11:31 am

TV, film, and stage star Jerry Orbach died Tuesday night from Prostate cancer. He was best known for his work on TV’s Law and Order, but Erin and I will always remember his as the voice of Lumiere. Bummer. He always seemed like such a nice guy.

December 27, 2004


Filed under: Quoth — jasony @ 12:21 am

“It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas and a half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses.
“Hit it.”

December 26, 2004

Christmas List

Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 11:30 pm

Once again my wife proves how thoughtful and wonderful she is. Not only did I get permission to buy the aforementioned Jointer (a blessing I will return by building her some nice furniture), but she got me some other great gifts as well. A wonderful gore-tex mountaineering jacket (my old one was completely shredded and dead and this gift came as QUITE a surprise), a great Taunton Guide to Tools book, a much-needed subscription to Inc and Fast Company magazines for self-employment assurance, a couple of small shop tools, another book (The Chronicles of Narnia) donated to the library in my name (a truly thoughtful gift), candy, and a bunch of other stuff.

Probably the most “fun” toy I got, though, was as a result of an offhand comment I made at Fry’s a few months ago. I had seen the little remote controlled cars that they have on display. I told her that I had always wanted one when I was a kid, but never got one (don’t feel bad, mom and dad, I don’t think I ever mentioned it). Made the comment and promptly forgot about it.

Well, lo and behold. Under the tree this year was this remote controlled Ford F150 racing truck!

Erin laughed at my reaction when I opened it. I feel like I’m 6 years old! We’ve had a blast racing it around the house and building miniature obstacle courses for it. It eats batteries fairly quickly, so we have to get it some rechargables, but the range with new batteries is amazing: well out to where the truck is too small to see to control well. She’s asked me to build a little garage for it. 🙂


I reserve the right, until my time here is finished, to act like a kid. 🙂

December 25, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 12:46 am

Who would not rather be wrong with St. Francis of Asissi, St. Augustine of Hippo, all the saints and mystics for two thousand years, not to mention Dante, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Milton, Pascal, than right with Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, Karl Marx, Nietzsche, the Huxleys, Bertrand Russell, and such like?
Malcolm Muggeridge author, journalist, editor, and sometime British Intelligence operative, who started out in life as an atheist, raised in an atheist family, but became one of the 20th Century’s most articulate Christian apologists


Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 12:05 am

December 24, 2004

Er, Now I’m A Little Concerned

Filed under: Space — jasony @ 11:23 pm

The asteroid previously mentioned has been moved up the Torino scale to a 4. This means that, instead of a 1 in 244 chance of hitting Earth, it now has a 1 in 62.5 chance of hitting. Nothing to worry about for 30 years, and it’s not big enough to wipe out the planet, but it’s big enough. The total impact energy of this thing is around 2200 megatons of explosive power. The largest nuclear weapon ever tested is somewhere in the 50 megaton range, so it’s not going to Armageddon the planet or anything, but I wouldn’t want to be within a few hundred miles of the impact zone. And if it hits the 2/3rds of the planet covered by water? Oy.
Stay tuned…

Bloody Server!

Filed under: Computing — jasony @ 7:20 pm

The stupid server is off and on again. I’m really sorry, folks, but the solution is out of my hands. Here’s hoping my traffic doesn’t deteriorate to zero before the issue is resolved. It’s a Movable Type problem and spammers are at fault. May their stockings be filled with coal.

A Marine’s Father Speaks

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 12:51 pm

Very moving. Link

How the Lawyers Stole Christmas

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 12:39 pm

This is hilarious.

And I Feel Fine

Filed under: Space — jasony @ 12:19 pm

According to NASA, Near Earth Asteroid 2004 MN4 has a 1 in 233 chance of hitting the Earth and causing global devastation on April 13th 2029.

This object is the first to reach a level 2 (out of 10) on the Torino Scale. According to the Torino Scale, a rating of 2 indicates “a discovery, which may become routine with expanded searches, of an object making a somewhat close but not highly unusual pass near the Earth. While meriting attention by astronomers, there is no cause for public attention or public concern as an actual collision is very unlikely. New telescopic observations very likely will lead to re-assignment to Level 0 [no hazard].” This asteroid should be easily observable throughout the coming months.

DNS Problems

Filed under: Computing — jasony @ 12:14 pm

I’ve tried for weeks to reach James Lilek’s site, but every time I try I get a timeout. I just assumed that he was having problems on his end, but no. His site is apparently up and running just fine as everyone else can see it but me. If you get a second, please try and click on the link and shoot me an email if it works? (or comment, but with MT being so buggy, there’s no guarantee that your comment will get through).
I thought that it was the rumored DNS problems in Mac OS 10.3.3, so I updated to 10.3.7. Same issues. Anyone have any ideas?


Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 1:14 am

Erin and I rented “I, Robot” the other day, and thanks to the miracle of Handbrake I just got finished watching it for a second time. Very entertaining flick with some of the best CGI I’ve seen since LOTR. The movie got unnecessarily spanked for not adhering to Asimov’s story “closely enough”. I’ll bet that unless you have read the books you don’t know that his first I, Robot book was a series of short stories. He continued the theme in later books (and wrapped up some intriguing loose ends in his “later” stories (heh), but the first book was mainly an exploration of the interpretation of the Three Laws. Fascinating stuff, but it would make a boring movie.

I think the moviemakers did a fantastic job of capturing much of the spirit of Asimov’s work. I understand that much on the written page cannot make it to the screen, and I accept the sacrifices the filmmakers made. If you’re in the mood for a great science fiction action flick, give it a look.

December 23, 2004

You Must Be Present to Win

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 10:18 pm

I Love Video in Austin has an interesting sales receipt.

Tivo Gifts

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 10:00 pm

So if any of you readers are thinking of getting a Tivo, drop me a line. I’d like to get your referral so I can score a new iPod like Patrick just did.

For the Rest of Us

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 11:30 am

Our tree is trimmed and the gifts are being wrapped today, but for now, happy Festivus. Let’s wrestle.

Operation Care Dallas

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 11:27 am

Robert has a good post on Operation Care Dallas that went down this past weekend.


Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 12:12 am

Some of Wal-Mart’s largest suppliers are resisting the chain’s demand that they tag all their merchandise with RFID tags.

December 22, 2004

Apple Stealth

Filed under: Computing — jasony @ 12:26 pm

Ron Avitzur has the incredible story behind the development of Apple’s Graphing Calculator here. Don’t miss this one. From sneaking into the Apple building after dark to coopting the internal manpower resources of likeminded engineers, this is Pirate engineering at its best.

In October, when we thought we were almost finished, engineers who had been helping us had me demonstrate our software to their managers. A dozen people packed into my office. I didn’t expect their support, but I felt obliged to make a good-faith effort to go through their official channels. I gave a twenty-minute demonstration, eliciting “oohs” and “ahhs.” Afterward, they asked, “Who do you report to? What group are you in? Why haven’t we seen this earlier?” I explained that I had been sneaking into the building and that the project didn’t exist. They laughed, until they realized I was serious. Then they told me, “Don’t repeat this story.”
Graphing Calculator has been part of the Macintosh ever since. Teachers around the world use it as an animated blackboard to illustrate abstract concepts visually. It shipped on more than twenty million machines. It never officially existed.

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