Archive for the 'Government' Category

1-31-2007 Never Forget!

Saturday, January 31st, 2009
2009-01-31 Never Forget

On January 31st, 2007, the Boston authorities completely lost their minds in a highly visible and ultimately humiliating way.

I am, of course, referring to the Mooninite Invasion.

For the first time in 8 years, we have the potential to live in a nation governed by the sane with policies grounded in reasoned thought.

But it is only potential.

We must remain vigilant and must never fail to ridicule figures of authority when they act like complete unreasoning jackasses!

Random Sampling of Apple Centric San Jose / Cupertino Area Eateries

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

A rather random Twitter conversation (WO ObjC is only real WO, No it isn’t, Ruby on Rails, Not Really, Pulled Pork, MMM… Food, Where to eat in SJ?) led to the question of “Anyone have suggestions on places to eat in Cupertino/SJ area?

Well, I do. Herein lies a list of random eateries that I — and many people I know — enjoy. It is centric to Cupertino and West San Jose simply because that is where I work [Apple] and live. Thus, you won’t find much from Mountain View (even though there are some awesome spots there).

In no particular order and of no particular focus (and very likely with obvious omissions). And, yeah, I have a thing about pizza. It has a thin crust. It should be crispy. It should not be a fracking cake. I love Chicago-style meat-and-sauce cakes, but they ain’t pizza. There are three kinds of pizza in North America; NYC style, Chicago style, and Shakespeare’s. Deal with it.

Sushi: Furu-Sato
Sit at the bar. Say hello to Young, Kevin or Brian for me. Consistently some of the best quality fish I have been served in a very friendly and well designed atmosphere. Straight forward sashimi, sushi, and rolls, though they also have an interesting menu, too. I live by Omakase here. Recently, they have often had excellent quality fresh mango which goes tremendously well with tuna or hamachi.
Ethiopian: Zeni Ethiopian Restaurant
As long as you don’t mind eating with your hands and can take a rather relaxed approach to dinner (a couple of hours, typically), Zeni offers one awesome dining opportunity. Zeni serves ethiopian food, beer, and a delicious ethiopian honey wine. The best bet is to get a vegetarian sampler platter and order a couple of meat dishes to go with it. The whole thing will be served on a gigantic platter covered in injera. Don’t forget an order of spiced home made cheese to go with your meal. Delicious.
Japanese Tapas: Tanto Japanese Restaurant
The chef and staff of Tanto has served the best Japanese meals I have ever had. Like Furu-Sato, Omakase works very very well at Tanto. Tanto’s menu is extensive, filled with many small dishes and you cannot go wrong ordering off of it. They also have an excellent Soju menu.

Seriously. I have had, now, three meals here that were better than Nobu in New York City.

Note: Tanto is now called Dan. Mostly the same staff and same chefs. Every bit as awesome, maybe even better, than ever.

Mexican: Los Dos Compadres II
Total hole in the wall mexican spot that serves extremely tasty food cheap. Has real Coca-Cola — made with actual sugar and not corn syrup. Awesome seafood this and that. When they say “spicy”, believe it. I usually eat tacos because they are as close to the ones I had on the streets of Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico.
Pizza: A Slice of New York
Having lived in New York city, I was utterly and completely dismayed by what passed for “pizza” on the West Coast. Thin crust that was thick and chewy? Fail. While there are a couple of good pizza shops around the bay area (see below), nothing compared to a really good slice of NYC style “walking pizza”.

Fortunately, an ex-NYC’er who had moved out to join Cisco felt the same, gave up his high tech job, and opened a classic NYC pizza joint.

The key is to get slices. Why? Because truly good, thin, crisp, crust, can only be had by cooking twice. It is just the way it is. In NYC, we would often order whole pies of reheated slices.

Beyond a kick-ass pizza, A Slice of New York also makes an incredible meatball parmesan and they import all the parts to put together a genuine Long Island cannoli.
Halal Middle Eastern: Gulzaar Halaal Restaurant & Bakery
This little — and I do mean little — restaurant serves some of the best non-falafel oriented middle eastern food I have had in the bay area. Cheap. Fast. And utterly delicious. The beef kebab and vegetable samosas are delicious, served with a wonderful array of sauces. Everything is fresh and the focus is on the food, not presentation or atmosphere. They have two kinds of fresh baklava– pistachio and almond — both quite delicious. Very nice staff, too. This is likely to become a regular lunch spot.
Pizza: Pizza My Heart
A west coast pizzeria that actually does it right without just being a copy of an NYC joint. Quality pies with some delicious toppings. Good as slices and good delivered (ask for well done). Better yet, Chuck — the owner of Pizza My Heart and an iPhone — mentioned that a new location will be opening at De Anza & Stevens Creek with delivery to Apple! Never again will Dev Tech have a five hour brainstorming meeting with mediocre to awful pizza!
Pizza: Amici’s
Best NYC rip-off pizza in the bay area. Thin, crispy crust, with tasty toppings. Nice salads and sides, too. Small, but excellent, draft beer selection.
Gourmet: Sent Sovi
Our favorite gourmet meal kind of place. I wrote up a chef’s tasting experience a while ago. It was simply awesome. Unlike some “cutting edge” dining establishments, Sent Sovi maintains an awesome balance between culinary gastronomy and comfort food. A sort of culinary adventure with your world-class-chef mom, if you will… Has many special events throughout the year, centered around a particular local wine maker’s products or a specific theme ingredient. We have attended the King of Mushrooms and King of Duck dinners and they were, flat out, some of the most amazing meals we have had. Sign up for the mailing list, if interested. Meals not to be missed!
Gourmet: Manresa
Cutting edge high cuisine that challenges your palette. Christine and I had a phenomenal dinner at Manresa, but it was far from comforting. It was truly a culinary adventure and one that I’ll always remember fondly. Delicious and amazing creations often involving as much hardcore science as kitchen wizardry.
Location is everything: BJ’s Restaurant
I likely never would have visited BJ’s a second time if it weren’t for the fact that it is in the parking lot of Apple’s main campus. As a result, I eat lunch at BJ’s once a week and often have a beer or appetizer after work. They have some good beer (oatmeal stout, nutty, blonde, red, seasonals) and some bad (stout, porter, and occasionally bad kegs of anything else). Food is Pub Food. But there are some gems on the menu; sliders, appetizer pizzas (not the deep dish atrocities), and some of the sandwiches. You have to sort of zen with the service staff to enjoy the place; all things in good time. Even location cannot overcome such consistently crappy service and general food quality that leaves you feeling bloated and nasty after every meal. The healthy sub-menu has a handful of items that are pretty tasty, but the mis-management of this restaurant is to the point where it is no longer even comical. As well, their guest taps have stagnated and their beer service maintenance is lacking such that they’ve managed to serve skunked pitchers occasionally. BJ’s is also the only “bar” I’ve been to that has managed to screw up a gin and soda multiple times.
Cafeteria: Caffé Macs
The main Apple employee lunch cafeteria. It has undergone a major upgradte in the past year [2008]. From being one of the best company cafeteria’s around, Caffé Macs is now a gourmand’s paradise. Beyond an awesome salad bar, wood fired pizza, sandwiches, and the like, Caffé Macs features daily and weekly specials that are out of this world. Every day is an adventure. I have had duck confit, roast quail, Peruvian and Brazilian national dishes, quail & bacon risotto, stone fruit composed salads, herb seared scallops, and much much more. All reasonably price — cheap, really.
Mexican: Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant
Yeah, like such a list as this would not include Tommy’s. Excellent yucatan style mexican food and the world’s best tequila bar (no, really). I generally stick with the specials, if available; molé, whole fried snapper, anything pork, anything beef. Awesome tamales. And, of course, great margaritas. Say hello to Julio for me.
Sammich: Amato’s Cheeseteaks & Hoagies
Awesomely delicious cheesesteak and chicken sandwiches. HUGE. Plan on 2 people being full after splitting a small. Good fries, too. This place pretty much does nothing but hoagie style sandwiches and they have been doing ’em for a long time. Nice folks, too. Be kind, they’ll serve you well. Be an ass, they’ll throw you out. As it should be.

I’ll add more as I remember ’em. Sadly, I’m at a complete loss to recommend a good dim sum spot in the area. Any recommendations?

Aqua Teen Day — January 31st, 2007: Never Forget.

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

Update:

Evil Mad Scientists Laboratory has made the foundation of this build available as The Peggy for $80.

In typical EMSL fashion, that link includes tons and tons of information, including full details, board design, source, and loads of implementation notes.


So, apparently, it is being called Aqua Teen Day. Good enough.

Better yet, though, is that the fine folks of boston — the level headed public that makes the city such a great place — are celebrating the first annual “Aqua Teen Day” by decorating the city with LED art.


Mooninites & Lemur

On January 31st, 2007, the authorities in Boston completely lost their minds. It wasn’t the first time, but this particular date was heavily reported and even the most head-in-the-sand die-hard “OMGWTFBINLADENFTChildren!!!one!!!” fear mongers found it ridiculous.

I am, of course, referring to the Aqua Teen Hunger Force “Hoax Device” bomb scare.

I could go on a political rant about fear based leadership and the general stupidity of the security theater played out in our cities and airports.

But that is boring.

Lemur in Blue

I’d rather remind people of the jackassery that has happened and, once again, laugh at it. Then vote appropriately.

To that end, I purchased memorial kits from the fine folks at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories and put them together over the last few days.

The results are just stunning. And effective. I brought the boards into work on Monday and, on the way home, stopped for a beer with boards in hand. Several folks asked about them and, upon explaining the history of the boards, they became just a touch more enlightened as to the stupidity of certain leadership and just a slight bit more inclined to learn more and vote accordingly.

MooniniteMooninite

Mission accomplished. With laughter included.

(The kits were a special edition from EMSL — you’ll have to contact them for availability. The LED “peg board” is generic; you can lay out the LEDs anyway you want to make any kind of similar display, including a “charlieplexed” mode that allows simple animations. I believe EMSL will be offering the generic form of the kit sometime soon.)

City of San Jose; Intertubes? What are them? Sounds ‘xpensive.

Monday, January 28th, 2008
San Jose Museum of Art 17

We visited the San Jose Museum of Art over the weekend. Roger totally dug it; sketching various scenes that he found inspiring.

Of course, we ended up with a $28 parking ticket. No surprises there. I mean, we parked in a marked parking space that had no parking limitation signs on Saturday near a meter that had no documented weekend rates are anything.

Obviously, a city that is trying to attract more tourists and more nearby residents would make accessibility to the downtown as easy and painless as possible. And a complete lack of posted parking policy is a BIG help. So is the total lack of grocery stores or other services that are necessary to support residents.

But I digress (and fully admit that it was my fault for not assuming that the city wouldn’t maximize revenue opportunities).

So, I went to pay the parking ticket online. Clearly, a city at the heart of silicon valley in the proactively environmental state of California will have an online payment system!

Sure does! And the fine City of San Jose will charge you $3 for the privilege of paying via their web site. Let’s see — $3 surcharge for a transaction that involves no paper, no illegible handwriting, no check processing, and less bookkeeping? Makes perfect sense.

Fine.

So, I’ll just pay that damned ticket via online banking.

Uh, no. The Fine City of San Jose effectively requires that you submit your Parking Violation payment with the Parking Violation Ticket itself.

No online banking for you!

Clearly, the City of San Jose hates them pesky trees.

California is stupid (but I love it here)

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

Once again, LED technology has evolved. This particular flashlight has 9 superbright white LEDs powered by 3 AAA batteries. In this case, it appears to be mostly an efficiency-at-this-brightness issue in that the previous generation LEDs of this brightness would generate considerably more heat (and not last 20 hours on 3 AAA batteries).

But, WAIT! What is this warning!!

This product and/or its packaging contain a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.

OH NOES!!! Except that it is utterly useless. The State of California enacted Proposition 65 back in 1986. Entitled the “The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986”, the law was designed to require notification when Bad Stuff was present in any given environment.

Of course, it has been horribly abused and certain jackassery legal outfits have built entire businesses out of extorting money out of legitimate businesses through prop 65 threats and suits.

There is even an official web site with FAQ.

So, of course, clarifications of the stupidity are ever present everywhere but in California. For those of us that call CA our home, we are used to seeing stupid Prop 65 warnings on everything from cans of foaming goo to etched into a window on hotel entrances to stuck on the side of the occasional garbage truck. A sort of legal graffitti that is as ignored as the stupid “massage cheap” and “earn money at home” phone post signs.

But the rest of the world needs some clarification on this seemingly scary notice. And, thus, you’ll see that the above scariness is immediately followed by:

NOTE: Only California law requires that this warning be given to the consumer. This warning is only required by the State of California and is not based on this product or its packaging causing exposure to hazardous chemicals over those allowed by any law or statute. Again this law is NOT based on exposure, it is based on content, even when the content is in full compliance with safety standards set by the Federal Government. There are NO regulated chemicals used in this products in a way to create an hazard to the public. We are sorry for any confusion or concern regarding this warning that may have caused.

I’m sorry, too.

No Net Neutraily? Been there, done that, it sucks.

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Net Neutrality is a subject of major discussion amongst the neterati. For good reason. The presence of Net Neutrality guarantees that any network connection — residence, business, cable, DSL, satellite — can send traffic without restriction or different levels of dependability based on protoocol or destination. The absence of NN means exactly the opposite; there may be restrictions based on protocol, destination, or anything else the service provider might decide should be singled out.

And, of course, one of the non-neutral models involves the customer paying extra money to gurantee levels of service for certain protocols or features.

The funny thing is that none of this is new. We have been in a non-neutral world before. And it sucked. More on that in a second.

Why is this such a big deal?

– residential DSL and cable modem companies have oversold their bandwidth such that they cannot meet the contract or marketing promises they have made

– those same service providers are pissed off that commodity generic bandwidth is perfectly excellent for carrying products like Vonage or Skype [telephony] or any of the myrida of multimedia streaming or downloading solutions. They want a cut of that.

But none of this is a new issue. We have been here before. Slightly different form, but same impact on the customer.

Full details after the break…

Read the rest of this entry »

Best “No Comment” Response Ever

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

What happens after someone heads out of the courthouse after an arraignment hearing for an extremely visible, supposedly newsworthy, set of charges?

There is a press conference. Attorney is present. Lots and lots of inane questions followed by nothing but “no comment” responses.

Not any more. The two dudes charged with a bunch of mass hysteria security theater trumped up bullshit charges just had the best post arraignment press conference ever.

Instead of no comment, the entire interview is a discussion of hair styles throughout the 20th century. Every question is turned away or turned back to hair.

Instead of “No Comment”, you get “That isn’t a hair question and we are really here to talk about hair.”

Brilliant.

Drudge is carrying this video under the headline “suspects mock media”.

Well, DUH! Given the choice of saying “no comment” or making fun of the media for persisting to ask questions that they know can’t be answered, I am damned happy to see someone stand up and indirectly point out the utter and completely inane stupidity of the reporters on the scene.

Update: Pings turned off because the asshole content ripping spamming bastards seem to really like this post.

ATHF LED kits anyone??

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

If someone starts selling reasonably priced ATHF LED advertisement kits, I’d buy in a heartbeat. Can’t be hard to build; just a bunch of LEDs with a bit of a driver circuit to shut the crap off in the daylight.

The reality impaired scaretardos that have now arrested and charged one of the makers with something like “conspiracy to build a hoax device or placing a hoax device with purpose of creating mass hysteria” disgust me.

Sadly, though it would seem that even a half assed lawyer should be able to show that there was no intent to either induce mass hysteria or create a hoax terror device, I fully expect that the completely corrupt asshats leading the domestic terrorism jihad will be able to make whatever charges they can come up with stick. Jail time for LED boy.

Of course, this does raise a question: Can “we the people” bring a case against the overreacting dumbasses for “inciting mass hysteria” by turning every fracking out of place light, candle, or farting high school student into an act of potential terrorism?

Hell, even by writing this pointless little bit of disgusted venting, I fully expect I’ll end up on some federal watch list somewhere. Oh, wait, there is that fear & hysteria thing again — if more than 3 of you feel the same way, we might just have a case on our hands.

But I digress. Anyone selling kits yet?

North Korea detonates second nuke test?? (Doesn’t look like it)

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

When North Korea detonated their first nuclear bomb in a mountain on Sunday/Monday, I submitted a link to the USGS earthquake site showing details of the related seismic event for addition to the related BoingBoing article (which kindly posted a link to this weblog, thanks!).

Now, there is a Reuters article indicating that Japan is claiming that NK may have conducted a second nuclear test.

However, at this time — 5pm PST, Oct 10 2006 — there have been no new events in the North Korea area on the Asia Region seismic activity map.

And the AP has a similar story on the wire that indicates that neither the South Koreans nor US seismic monitors show any sign of an event.

Not so coincidentally (I suspect), there was a magnitude 5.8 seismic event southeast of Japan. It sounds like someone might have jumped the gun on the reporting.

Typically, when a seismic event occurs, the USGS site is updated extremely rapidly. Updates frequently occur within minutes of an event in CA. And the site reports events of extremely minor magnitude; often reporting magnitude 1.0 and 2.0 events caused by quarry explosions at the end of Stevens Creek Boulevard in Cupertino.

So, unless there is a significantly greater delay in event reporting for global (or Asia region) seismic events, then it is unlikely that Korea has managed to detonate a second device. There certainly could be a delay — it did take a few hours for the original event to show up on the map.

Blue-gill (common pond fish) as water quality monitors

Thursday, September 21st, 2006

Common blue-gill are being used to monitor the quality of water supplies.

This amuses the hell out of me on several levels.

First, the major news outlets are calling this an “anti-terrorism measure”. I really wish they would stop feeding the terrorist’s cause.

The fish are being used as “canaries in a coal mine”. That is, their vital signs are monitored as water passes through the water supply processing system. If there are nasties in the water, the fish respond by increasing respiration in the form of increased gill movement and heart rate.

Excellent. A cheap, natural, solution that is orders of magnitude more effective than other solutions.

Successfully Caught Fish!

Anti-terrorism? No. An Über-efficient, natural, solution to a very hard problem that has impacted water supplies for as long as there has been water supplies.

I am looking forward to the day when the press and the government stop perpetuating the terrorist cause through marketing-by-fear-mongering to capture eyeballs and ignorant votes.

Beyond that, I find it all amusing because blue-gill are a lot of fun to catch, are easy to clean and just so incredibly damned tasty.

Fish fry, anyone?