My discoveries and associated ramblings

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Once again, I let more than a year slip by since my last blog post. That seems to be a pattern in my life.

Just because I don't want two years to elapse, I'll fill this space with something. Let's see....

How about a link to some pictures of one of our dogs. :-)

Happy August, everyone!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Here's some music I sometimes listen to while I work. It's good light background music. It sounds really good, but it's not too distracting. Best of all, it's free for personal use. :-)

It's been about a year since my last post on this blog. That means it's time to post again. Here's a recipe I came up with. It's got a lot of variables to play with, so it's perfect for people who like to experiment in the kitchen. You can adjust the cooking time, size/shape of mug, amount of spice, etc. as desired.

Microwave Molten Chile Chocolate Cake

A traditional molten cake has a somewhat firm crust and a runny center, but this version is not traditional. (Not yet, anyway!) This recipe makes a cake that's cooked through, but is resting on a small amount of gooey chocolatey goodness. Because it uses a microwave, you can make this cake from start to finish in under five minutes. The spices are optional, but recommended. They add a nice warmth and flavor.

2 T flour
1/4 C sugar
3 T cocoa
1/4 t baking powder
1/8 t salt
1/4 t chipotle powder
1/16 t cardamom
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 T milk
2 T oil
1/8 t vanilla

Mix the dry ingredients in a 16 oz. microwavable mug. (Make sure they're thoroughly mixed or you may end up with white specks in the finished product.) Add the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Microwave on high for about 85 seconds. The exact cooking time will vary depending on the mug and microwave. You want the top of the cake to be completely cooked, but there should still be a small amount of warm batter in the bottom of the mug. Top w/ a small scoop of chocolate ice cream. Adding the ice cream will cause the cake to fall, but don't worry about that. It will be delicious! Serve in the mug while still warm.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

It's been nearly three years since my last post. My, how time flies!

I found an interesting new programming language: Axum. It's not ready for prime time yet, but you can download it and play with it. It appears to be based on C#, but it has some prominent features that make it easy to write safe high-performance parallel code. It's a very interesting concept with some real potential for the real world.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Google finally came out with a tool that can compare apples with oranges.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Mysterious Pipe Loop
The looping pipe
Our new house is finally being built. Everything in the construction makes sense to me except for one thing. There is a big loop in the pipe that supplies the hose bibb. I can't figure out what it's for. It's too small to be an anti-siphon loop. The superintendent doesn't even know what it's for. It doesn't look like it will hurt anything, though.

The loop is in the blue pipe in this picture. I think it's pretty cool that the house is plumbed with color coded pipes. Red is for hot water and blue is for cold water. When it's the flexible plastic stuff, do you even call them pipes? Should they be called tubes or hoses? I'm obviously not a plumber.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Nuke Anything Enhanced
This is one of the greatest Firefox extensions ever! It allows you to delete objects, one at a time or in groups, from web pages. It's great if you want to remove excess junk before printing.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Google Video
Google Video now lets you embed their videos in your web page.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Ophcrack 2 -- The fastest Windows password cracker
Forgot your Windows password? No problem.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Linux screensaver for Windows
Here's something you don't see everyday. This Linux screensaver for Windows is not just a set of pretty pictures. It is a fully functional Linux OS running as a Windows screensaver. Sweet!

Friday, December 09, 2005

ComponentSoftware Visual Diff for Windows
This is one of the best file difference programs out there for use on text files. The best feature is that it not only handles plain text files, but it also finds the differences between Word documents.

If you want a graphical diff utility for comparing source code, try KDiff3.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Sometimes you need truly random numbers. For that there's Other times, pseudo-random numbers are sufficient. On the other end of the spectrum, you will find easily predictable sequences and patterns. If you really need an extreme lack of randomness, try generating lists of numbers at It's the ultimate source of predictability.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

SCIgen - An Automatic CS Paper Generator
This is too funny! Some MIT students wrote a program, which you can try out at their web site, which randomly generates computer science research papers, complete with illustrations. Of course, the papers are meaningless, but they look pretty good!

The funniest part is that they submitted one of the random papers to a conference and it was accepted! They are supposed to present the paper in person at the conference in July in Orlando. They promise to read it with a straight face and put a video of it on their web site. I look forward to this. They even collected enough PayPal donations to pay for their trip.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

This is another test of BloggerBot.

This is a test of BloggerBot. Posted by Hello

Friday, March 04, 2005

Remote physical device fingerprinting - CAIDA : OUTREACH : papers : 2005 : fingerprinting
I don't know if I should classify this as really cool or somewhat disturbing. The author of this paper came up with a few different ways to use a computer's clock as a fingerprint. A computer can be identified without its cooperation, even if it is behind a firewall that performs NAT.

I don't think that it would be too hard to modify a TCP/IP stack to counter this sort of probe. I suspect that this will be an option for Linux sometime in the next few months. It will probably take a couple of years or more before Microsoft considers this to be a problem with Windows.

There are some legitimate security concerns raised by this paper. Whether your hat is black or white, if you care about network security or Internet anonymity then this paper is important to you.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Google Maps
This is absolutely the best web site for maps and directions. Not only can it find addresses, but it can also find businesses by type. For example, you can zoom in to a region that you want to search for pizza places, type "pizza" in the search field, and it will show them to you on the map. You can even click and drag to scroll the map.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

By now you've seen plenty of ads for free ipods, xboxes, etc. This one trumps them all, especially in the honesty department. It's free dryer lint! Go ahead and click on the link. You could get something for free! Really. Or not.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Advanced Bash-Scripting Guide
I have to write bash scripts from time to time. It's not quite often enough for me to remember how to do it. :-) This is by far the best scripting guide that I have seen. And it's free, too! The link above is to download the HTML version. There's also a PDF version available. 585 pages of stuff that's actually useful!

Thursday, October 28, 2004
Who do you want to prank call today? I have never had a need for this type of service, but it sure looks like it has entertainment potential. It's even cheaper than most long distance services. It's still not as cheap as Big Zoo. It just looks so fun!

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Google Desktop Search
Oh, yeah!!! Forget about Windows' Indexing Service. Now you can get relevant search results of your own hard drive's contents. Those wizards at Google Labs deserve a raise!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

NOAA: WMO Resolution 40
Want to know what the weather was like two years ago today? In another country? Here you will find daily summaries of weather data from nearly 8000 stations around the world. Some of them have up to ten years of data available. It's all in fixed-width ASCII format, so you can import it into your favorite spreadsheet program, etc.

I downloaded the whole thing. When it's decompressed, it takes about 3.5GB of drive space. If you don't want that much, you can select just the time periods that you want.

I should also mention that it does not include measurements of relative humidity. If you want that, you can calculate it from the temperature and dewpoint. The formula is at

Friday, August 27, 2004


I found out about this one from my buddy SKye. It's a very interesting concept: fantasy stock trading using blogs instead of corporations. I haven't had time to play it, but it looks really cool.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Firefox - The Browser, Reloaded

We all know and love Firefox, right? Right?! Good. As you know, it is nearly the best web browser on the planet. In order to make it be the absolutely best browser on the planet, you need to add a few extensions. In order to make it be the absolutely best browser on another planet, you need some expensive transportation, but that's a project for another day.

In the mean time, here's a list of my favorite extensions. Most of these can be found on Mozilla's site. Just click Tools -> Extensions. Then click Get More Extensions.

Firesomething - Do you miss the days when Mozilla constantly changed the name of their browser? Do you want to make interesting entries in web server logs? This extension renames Firefox every time you open it.

FoxAmp - Adds WinAmp control buttons to the status bar of your browser.

SuperScroll - Customize the keyboard and mouse wheel scroll speeds.

Stumbleupon - Waste many hours finding web sites that other people think are cool. It's probably not a good idea to put this on your work computer.

Image Zoom - Custom magnification of web page images.

BugMeNot - Tired of filling out inane marketing forms to get free access to web content? This tool provides you with logins that you can use to avoid the hassle and privacy loss that come with "free registration required" web sites.

GMailCompose - Do you use Gmail? This extension makes mailto: links open Gmail compose windows. Very nice!

Adblock - How sweet it is! Easily create custom filters to keep web page ads from loading. It doesn't take long to configure it to work with your favorite sites.

Googlebar - It has many of the same features as the Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer.

Friday, July 16, 2004

NT/6 Wood Burning Turbine

This is an actual wood-burning gas turbine engine. Throw in a few
chunks of wood, fire it up, and you get about 2KW of electricity and
lots of heat and noise. Be sure to check out the videos at the
bottom of the page.