Friday, July 30, 2004

Silk does not stain

Silk does not stain

from lubricants used in condoms. That is one of the facts in this bizarrely fascinating BBC news story. Among other facts
The Indian city of Varanasi is getting through around 600,000 condoms a day, but this is no population control exercise.

because

The weaver rubs the condom on the loom's shuttle, which is softened by the lubricant thus making the process of weaving faster.

The lubricant does not leave any stain on the silk thread which might soil the valuable saris.

There are around 150,000 to 200,000 hand and power looms in Varanasi alone and almost all are using the technique.

There is some concern, however,

Some of the weavers fear the industry could be at risk if sari buyers learn their garments are made with condom lubricant.

no kidding.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

McKinsey Quarterly

McKinsey Quarterly


I subscribe to a newsletter from McKinsey that is infortmative and timely in the issues it covers. "Timely" is perhaps an overstatement - the topics covered are a reliable lagging indicator of issues people are wrestling with. It is not often you would see a topic that breaks new ground, but certainly a discussion on a topic begins well before the topic is splashed across Time or NewsWeek front pages.

Most McKinsey articles; however, are for premium subscribers - which is understandable but annoying. Why not emulate Salon and provide advertiser-sponsored Daily Passes? I can see why McKinsey does not want to just offer free registration-enabled readership. A lot of its allure as a firm is built on its reputation for exclusivity. But they are also a profit-desiring business. Why not subject people to advertisement each day if they want to read the articles. They can even make it a per-article requirement. Why not?

RFID Hack

RFID Hack


A German consultant has released a tool that its creator says will allow modifications of the code stored within RFID tags, theoretically allowing consumers to wreak havoc in future retail deployments.


without going into whether this is a workable and worthwhile expolit, it is sufficient to note that, as with all the other extremely automated processes, if RFID is vulnerable to some such exploit, all of the processes that depend on the accuracy of the RFID information are vulnerable too. Read the whole article for more information

Daily update

Daily Update


Clearly, this is not just another daily update in a continious stream of daily updates. I have not done one ever, I think. In reality, I am just waiting for a very very heavy [alliteration] program to start up. Slow enough that I have time to write this paragraph, edit a few times, and then wait for hits to the website to start pouring in.

Will today be hectic again? Let's cover the territory. One development server is not letting me log in because of a bizarre LDAP problem, and the IT department is fighting fires of its own. A designer needs to get access to the aforementioned Server, and 2 new developers on the team need tasks, while 2 other developers need approval on their design.


10:30AM - I am ready for a drink right now.

Friday, July 23, 2004

End of Week

End of Week


A prose entry


Another workweek is coming to a close. I have just deployed the latest version of the first module to deliver to our first customer to yet another portal server instance. It seems to work and I guess on Monday we are going to package it up as a WAR file and ship it off. After that we have about 3 weeks to finish up two other modules and start and finish a whole brand new one (and a half. There is always a bit of a module to do that does not quite fit anywhere.)


Off to start the rainy weekend, which is going to begin by having me scavenge through empty offices looking for a forgotten umbrella. It is pouring outside. The bus is going to be crowded and smelling like wet wool. Windows are going to fog up both from near 100% humidity on the outside, the condensate from the air-conditionioning inside the bus, and the cumulative breathalyzer exhaust of the few dozen people crammed into the bus. The bus, the bus, the bus.


Just so noone thinks the weekend is going to be bad, I should mention that we have plans, both morning and evening, and Monday is going to come just 5 minutes too early.


Have a good weekend everybody.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Bottle Cap Tripod [via Gizmodo]

Bottle Cap Tripod [via Gizmodo]


Bottle Cap Tripod




bottle_tripod.jpg imageJust the other day I was commenting to a friend how infrequently the tripod mounts on most low-end consumer cameras are ever used, because who ever packs a tripod when they're running around with their tiny camera? This Bottle Cap Tripod is a great solution, then, making it easy to throw together a jerry-rigged tripod whenever you need one. And if you live in New York, you can probably just pick up a bottle off the street. Not perfect, but not bad for 10 bucks. (Thanks, Jon!)

Read - Bottle Cap Tripod for Digital Camera from Japan [Yahoo/Semsons-Inc via BoingBoing]


Update: Yeesh, already sold out. I'll let you know if I find any more.


very cool.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Interesting op-ed contribution in NYT

Interesting op-ed contribution in NYT

Threads

Threads


Ever since I have been using gmail for the last couple of months I have become much more aware of how long, and short, some of my email conversation threads are. It is interesting to see thread counts grow rapidly, and then hit a barrier around 6-7. Very few threads over 7 messages.

I imagine this is the function of the number of correspondents. With 2 participants, 3 iterations (5 or 6 messages) probably get the point accross. With a higher number of participants the number increases, but slowly, since obviously you do not get everyone to contribute 2 or 3 emails each to the discussion. The record of off-the-cuff discussion between 3 people in the last 2 months is 12.

I should probably not spend too much time tabulating these results.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Useful site of the day: WebTender

Useful site of the day: WebTender


I needed to find out what exactly 'triple sec' was... While overwhelmingly comprehensive in content, this is not the most beautifully designed site. Nevertheless, it does its job - linking parched minds to recipes and ingredients.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Scamming the 419 Scammer

Scamming the 419 Scammer



Every once in a while I come across a documented encounter between a 419 scammer and a potential victim who slowed down and actually fooled the scammer. Here's a very funny encounter that resulted in the scammer joining the fictitious Church of the Painted Breast and sending the target $80. As described in a BBC News article:




"I'm sure he's not a prince at all," Mike says. "He contacted me with a standard 419 [so-called after a section of Nigeria's legal code] scam... "I tried to turn it round by saying I worked for a church and we couldn't do any business with people who are not of our faith."



Ah, the sweet revenge of scamming the scammer.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Photo: a new classic

Photo: a new classic


A classically wonderful photo by Riki-Tiki (not real name, duh). He is always amazingly strong technically, but often the nature of his assignments forces him to create images that are not all that interesting to me. The pictures work for Elle and Elle, but this is the one that I really like.

Photo: soon appearing in Time magazine

Photo: soon appearing in Time magazine


M.M. posts a couple of previews from a series about Russian neo-nazis. The comments, if you can read russian, are instructive, if at time scary.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Off-time

Off-time


Due to urgent family matters I missed a few days worth of posting, and am going to miss some more. Perhaps Mr.Len can fill in the spot.