This is confusing to me.  It is usually read as "24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year."

But it occured to me today that it should be 24x7x52, as in "24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year"?  That preserves the flow: hours to days, days to weeks, weeks to years.

"I have been, and always shall be, your friend."

Leonard Nimoy
1931 - 2015
In the words of Captain James T. Kirk (Enterprise):
    "We are assembled here today to pay final respects to our honored dead. And yet it should be noted, in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world; a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect and nourish. He did not feel this sacrifice a vain or empty one, and we will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings. Of my friend, I can only say this: Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most... human."


Review: Still Alice

Yeah, I'm still not sure how I ended up in this one either, Jenn picked it. It must be Oscar season, when everyone goes to the movie theater to feel bad about something. I thought the sequencing was a bit abrupt in places, it was hard to figure out how much time had passed and what was going on, but I suspect that was a choice to make one feel like the title character does as life, memories and awareness slowly slip away. I seems mean to say bad things about a movie like this, but I really don't like feeling sad at the movies. I have enough sad in my life as it is.


TV: 12 Monkeys

Two episodes in and it doesn't suck. This Cole is more useful than the one in the movie. It appears to me at this point that the future is busy reinforcing its own past by creating it, just as in the movie. Hopefully the series won't turn into an anti-vaccination screed, that would be unfortunate.


TV: Resurrection

Finally got to the end of Resurrection. (Our PVR is running about two weeks behind the rest of the world.)

We both did a "What the hell!" to the "One Year Later" bit. That seems a bit much like "don't trouble yourself with the details of the immediate aftermath". Felt like a hand-wavey cheat to me. But overall the story was wrapped up well, leaving enough for a second set of stories with the same characters.

I liked the series. No word yet on if there will be more.

ssh Switches

Dear putty/kitty developers:

If you are trying to make a ssh work-alike, it would be very helpful if your tool took the same command line options as what you are copying does.

To wit:
  • it is ssh -p 2022 user@system
  • and it is kitty -P 2022 user@system
Should you make the mistake of saying kitty -p 2022 user@system, you get a polite dialog box telling you that it doesn't understand what -p means. And if you live with kitty long enough, you start trying to use the -P switch when you go back to unix world. Eventually you start feeling like no matter what you pick it is always wrong the first time, and you have a mental breakdown.


(Aside: the fact that it is scp -P 2002 file user@system:location is a separate problem and doesn't help one's sanity either -- but if Kitty is going to take cues from someone, it should be the direct target of emulation.)


Rancid 3, Reprise

Oh just a note for posterity's sake that I messed with Rancid 3 for all of 90 minutes after figuring out the last land mine because the Dell switch functionality just wouldn't work. So eventually I just gave up and transplanted a working 2.3.8 instance and reconfigured it.

So much for trying to stay current. I'll check in again once 3.1.x is in progress; maybe by then there will be enough web documentation telling us what the actual differences are and the Dell piece will actually work.



Every so often you wonder what is going to happen in the future.

Take the credit card business, for example. To my eyes this is nothing more than a naked, greedy grasp at people's inability to do basic math and plan for the future.

This week I received in the mail one of the inevitable flood of pre-approved credit card applications that flow past a homeowner like a river of sludge. And because sometimes I feel like wallowing, I opened this one.

This is a "premium" card, and it offered me such terms as:

  • $22,000 credit limit
  • travel reward miles
  • other gooey goodness
...and for these benefits it was only going to cost me
  • $120 per year
  • ..+$95 for each other card on the account
  • 19.9% APR on outstanding balances
  • ... unless I miss some payments, in which case it jumps to 21.9%
  • 1% transfer fee for any balance transfers in
  • fees on cash advances plus a higher interest rate of 22.9% on outstanding cash advance balances
  • ... unless I miss some payments, in which case it jumps to 24.9%
I was looking at all these fees and rates, and it occurs to me: this bank shows absolutely no qualms about demanding 20% interest from me when the prime rate is 1% (let's assume the bank didn't see last week's surprise rate cut coming). And back in 1990, a different bank gave me, a university student with no visible means of support, a credit card with an interest rate of 16.9%.

And what was the interest rate when they did that?
Look at 1990
Yeah, between 10 and 14%.

(Graph from here.)

Now I may be the only non-economist alive who remembers in 1988 that the econonomic world was slowly coming to a halt and everyone was hoping for a so-called "soft landing" that would let everyone catch their breath and then let everything move along again -- and by 1991 it was clear that while the landing was "soft", it kept happening ever deeper (picture an ocean liner piling into an iceberg as opposed to a plane hitting a cliff). So while there are larger economic indicators at play behind this picture, the fact remains that a credit card was willing to accept only 6% as a premium for lending to probably one of the biggest credit risks of the time.

Today? For a premium customer, with verifiable assets, measurably low debt levels, and a solid income stream?


What is going to happen when interest rates go back up to their historical average of 7%? And make no mistake, eventually they will go up. The current economic "emergency" can't last forever.

Will this same credit card company want to charge me a 18% differential? ie: 25% on the best debt you can have?

(Well probably, initially. I'm sure what they'll do is jack the rates and those who stay will keep paying it, while those who bail will be lured to other lower rate products. Why stop people paying for your ridiculously over-priced service if they are willing to?*)

But it all just smacks of naked greed to me.

*== This is why Rogers and Bell jack your rates by $2 to $5 every year, slowly boiling the frog until you snap and they offer you a "special deal" at a lower rate.