Overloading the Machine


While I do write about work-related things here -- because I love my job -- everything here is my personal opinion and does not represent the views of my employer. For that, see the FSF blogs.


01 Mar 2014 | 11:14am

I want this wall decal of a fireplace. Maybe too hot for the summer though.

No place like home

28 Feb 2014 | 08:48pm

Nobody who lives in Boston is the least bit surprised by this.

At every intersection, every new sign for 2A directed drivers in the wrong direction. At the intersection of Columbus and Massachusetts Ave, there were yet again 2A signs pointing the wrong direction. But even more surprising, there was a sign for Route 28 East, a road that doesn’t exist. Route 28 travels only north and south. Across the intersection the station saw an accurate North 28 sign. On Forsyth Street, East and West Route 9 signs, feet apart, point in the same direction.

This week I learned

24 Feb 2014 | 01:10am

Dear Abby and Ann Landers were written by identical twins, for a while.


28 Jul 2013 | 11:43pm

There are 80 million power drills in America that are used an average of 13 minutes," says Chesky. "Does everyone really need their own drill?"


28 Jul 2013 | 11:25pm

In last week's NYT Sunday Review section (which I normally read only semi-closely), I caught this telling correction:

The Public Editor's column last Sunday misstated the nature of the killing of Trayvon Martin. It should have been referred to as a shooting, not a crime.

I also happened on this article by Laird Hunt, whom I "studied" with at Naropa University (attended lectures and readings by him). The paper version of this was much different (shorter) than the online version; it's an interesting story. Mainly I love the idea of anyone who taught at Naropa appearing in the pages of the New York Times. Anselm would be proud. I still have Indiana, Indiana sitting on my shelf waiting to be read.

Classy, Target

14 Jul 2013 | 11:06pm

In Watertown.

Paula Deen

I think this says something about my taste in music

05 Jul 2013 | 01:54am

johnsu01@myles:~$ mpc playlist|grep -i outro|wc -l

Dinosaurs in a Seattle yard at night

30 Jun 2013 | 11:08pm

M-x spook

17 Jun 2013 | 01:00am

In light of the recent leaks about the NSA's illegal spying, I've decided to go back to using M-x spook output in my email signatures.

cypherpunk anthrax John Kerry rail gun security plutonium Guantanamo wire transfer JPL number key military MD5 SRI FIPS140 Uzbekistan

Today I learned

10 Jun 2013 | 12:51am

...that Estelle Getty was actually one year younger than Bea Arthur.

What is it

27 May 2013 | 02:50am
Institute of Dirty Horticulture


20 May 2013 | 02:48am

The inventor of the lawnmower was named Edwin Beard Budding.

I like aptronyms; this seems like an anti-aptronym.

The Budding Wikipedia article also seems to have been vandalized -- I don't think the first section is supposed to be called "Johnny Depp" although maybe Edward Scissorhands is relevant here, speaking of aptronyms.

Brad Mehldau Trio at Jazz Alley

13 May 2013 | 01:07am

I saw the Brad Mehldau Trio (Brad Mehldau on piano, Larry Grenadier on bass, Jeff Ballard on drums) play at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle, WA on 2013-04-30.

They played:

  1. Great Day, by Paul McCartney
  2. Friends, by the Beach Boys
  3. And I Love Her, by Lennon and McCartney
  4. Dexterity, by Charlie Parker
  5. Ten Tune, by Brad Mehldau
  6. My Valentine, by Paul McCartney
  7. Either Dusty McNugget, by Brad Mehldau, or Dear Prudence, by Lennon and McCartney
  8. an encore that I did not write down

I thought it was a great show, although very mellow and obviously heavy on the Beatles. Ten Tune was the best number — spooky, hypnotic, featuring Grenadier's bow work, Ballard's blood-rushing-with-pounding-temple drumming, and emphasis on piano-bass unison phrases. Jazz Alley is one of my favorite spots; I've seen Mehldau play several times at other places, but this was the closest I've sat — close enough to see the reflection of his hands in the polish of the piano, and able to watch over his shoulder most of the time.

It's amazing how unfamous relatively famous jazz musicians are. Grenadier was just out walking in the parking lot before the show started and I don't think anyone else in the line recognized him. During the show, Mehldau told a story about how they'd had an extra day in Seattle because he'd forgotten his passport and so the group couldn't get into Canada to play their scheduled Vancouver gig. Remembering your own passport, that's like something I have to do. Don't they have people for that?

The drinks were terrible. I had a Seattle Sazerac, made with Fremont Mischief Rye and a whole bottle of Peychaud's, but apparently without the necessary sugar/simple. I learned later while tasting at the Fremont Mischief Distillery that I do like the rye, so that wasn't the issue. The distillery did have its own issue — just visiting the tasting room left an unbelievable stink on our clothes. My apologies to the saleswoman for thinking (to myself) that she had an odor problem; when we left the store, the smell stuck to us like B.B.O.

The second drink was a martini made with Bluewater's Halcyon Gin, which seemed to taste like herb butter. But I couldn't really tell, because the whole thing tasted like a glass of vermouth, which it was. I'll have to try the gin by itself sometime. (Does Bluewater know that the first hit for their name is for a septic services company?)

These were just two bad drinks, maybe an off night. Drinks at Jazz Alley have always been fine for me in the past, though they have also always been Manhattans made with Maker's. Anyway, go for the music. I wish the Regattabar would be more like Jazz Alley.

Proof that we have entered a new era

21 Apr 2013 | 10:15pm

I wonder if this bold email promotion I received was sent only to people in the green states?

Get the munchies. Win a bunch of food.

If Wheaties is the breakfast of champions, and Coke is the #1 drink of polar bears, Eat24 is the official sponsor of your munchies.

Want free food*? Perfect timing! We're celebrating this weekend's high holiday all week long with an event that we like to call "Danksgiving." Here's how it works: Order with Eat24, then tag your munchies on Twitter or Instagram with #Eat420for a chance to win dinner for four from Eat24 and other prizes including one of our favorite things, a [3] PloomPax vaporizer. Don't forget to go to the Contest Homepage and vote for your favorite with a Like or Tweet, because that's how we'll pick the winner. Full details [4] Right Here.

Meanwhile, enter this code at checkout to save some green** on this weekend's order.

Coupon Code: eat420

You're the magic in our brownie.

Bon Appetit,

Also, the recent events in Watertown did nothing to shorten the early evening line at the Deluxe Town Diner, as far as I could tell.

Favorite places with vegan pizza in Seattle

14 Apr 2013 | 11:16pm
  • Pizza Pi (Indian curry calzone or pizza especially)
  • Razzi's
  • Turnpike
  • Stacia's
  • Cafe Flora

The first three are the ones I miss the most.

Vegan in Amsterdam?

30 Mar 2013 | 09:20am

I'll be traveling to Amsterdam next week for a free software conference. Does anyone have recommendations for restaurants that are vegan-friendly? Natural food stores? I'll be staying very near the Central Station.

This week I learned

18 Mar 2013 | 02:14am

Random things I learned this week:

(Actually, it's things I learned from the week of October 18th, 2010. I've been going through my drafts folder, and found that I hadn't published this yet.)

  • How to do cryptic crosswords — A while back I bought 101 Cryptic Crosswords, edited by Fraser Simpson. It's a collection of puzzles from the New Yorker but also has a helpful section at the beginning explaining conventions used in cryptic crosswords, and some tips for solving them. I finally started actually working them. Each cryptic clue is a word game in itself: "Dagger lit from behind in fight" is "stiletto", because "til" is "lit" spelled "from behind", and it's in "set to" which means "fight" — and of course a stiletto is a dagger. Head hurt yet?
  • The EU has a ban on lightbulbs of greater than 60 watts.
  • The Polish Beer-Lovers' Party (which won 16 seats in the Sejm in 1991) was founded on the notion of fighting alcoholism by a cultural abandonment of vodka for beer. (See discussion of the Vodka Belt.)
  • George Price was a very interesting person. He made multiple breakthroughs in scientific disciplines (especially evolutionary biology) where he had no training, mixed with a couple conversions to Christianity and some time being deliberately homeless in order to help others. Plus he proposed innovative foreign policy ideas to Hubert Humphrey like have the US government buy every citizen of the USSR two pairs of nice shoes in exchange for the liberation of Hungary. Then committed suicide.
  • It costs $7.50 per week (after the 12-week 50% off promotional period expires) to have the Sunday New York Times delivered in Seattle. What the... I'm still doing it, but I don't see going past the 12 weeks. I've also been catching up on issues of The Nation. I've learned this week that I really do need to get news and inspiration from somewhere other than the computer, because I'm exceeding the amount of time I'm physically willing to look at a screen.
  • Wikipedia is ridiculous: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toilet_paper_orientation.

Jonathan Franzen's laptop

10 Mar 2013 | 11:40am


Because Franzen believes you can't write serious fiction on a computer that's connected to the Internet, he not only removed the Dell's wireless card but also permanently blocked its Ethernet port. "What you have to do," he explains, "is you plug in an Ethernet cable with superglue, and then you saw off the little head of it."

Also interesting; Time inserted this text automatically when I copied and pasted the quote from the article: "Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2010185,00.html#ixzz2N9T5IApL." I find this both useful and disturbing.


18 Feb 2013 | 12:47am

I will be speaking at the Southern California Linux Expo (and yes, given the topics covered, it's missing a GNU). My talk, "Four Freedoms for Freedom," is on Sunday, February 24, 2013 from 16:30 to 17:30.

The most obvious people affected by all four of the freedoms that define free software are the programmers. They are the ones who will likely want to -- and are able to -- modify software running on their computers. But free software is a movement to advance and defend freedom for anyone and everyone using any computing device, not just programmers. In many countries now, given the ubiquity of tablets, phones, laptops and desktops, "anyone and everyone using any computing device" means nearly all citizens. But new technological innovations in these areas keep coming with new restrictions, frustrating and controlling users even while creating a perception of empowerment. The Free Software Foundation wants to gain the support and protect the interests of everyone, not just programmers. How do we reach people who have no intention of ever modifying a program, and how do we help them?

Other presentations on my list to check out (in chronological order, some conflicting):

If you will be there and want to meet up, drop me a line.


28 Jan 2013 | 01:26am

I'll be at FOSDEM again this year, arriving in Brussels on Thursday 31st and leaving on Tuesday 5th.

I'll be speaking on Sunday in the legal issues devroom at 10:00.

If you will be there and want to meet up, let me know.

I may be trying to watch the Super Bowl from there, a plan that didn't quite work out last year but seems more likely this year.

State of the GNUnion

FSF licensing policy challenges in 2013

This talk will cover the main challenges facing the Free Software Foundation's Licensing and Compliance lab in 2013, and will invite discussion of the FSF's work and policies in this area. We'll explore:

  • Copyright assignment: Some high-profile GNU maintainers have recently criticized the FSF's copyright assignment policy and system. What are these criticisms, what does the FSF intend to do about them, and what's the point of its assignment process to begin with?
  • GPL adoption: Last year here, in "Is copyleft being framed?", I put numbers supposedly showing declining GPL adoption in perspective, showing problems with the data, questioning the conclusions drawn from the data, and presenting different data leading to the opposite conclusions. We'll look at the questions that were raised since then about my data, and at some new data that's been made available, and draw new conclusions.
  • App Stores: When Apple's App Store launched, the FSF concluded that its terms were incompatible with the GPL -- and with any kind of strong copyleft. Since then, we have several new App Stores; most notably from Google and Microsoft. Are the Apple terms still incompatible with the GPL? Are the other stores any better? Are these stores undermining GPL adoption, and should copyleft relax its standards in order to get free software to this audience, or should it stand its ground?

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