Here’s an actual photograph of some generic potato chips. The caption for the photo:

The chips taste exactly how you’d expect grey chips to taste.

Mmm, tasty! Sometimes it’s just better to spend the extra sixty cents (forty cents with your Safeway Shopper card!) and go for the Lay’s.


… So I’m eating my daily 3:00 snack and decided to grab some chocolate chips to add to the crackers. I noticed the bag of Ghirardelli’s chips includes a nice banner proclaiming that these chips are good not only for home use, but for professional use as well! Wow. Who knew that there were professional chocolate-chip users out there?

Maybe I should look for one of those online courses or something, so I too can be a professional. Until then, though, I guess I’ll be stuck with “home use”.


Truly, the greed of the RIAA knows no bounds.

As part of a review process of the DMCA that happens every three years, the RIAA has filed papers claiming that consumers should not be allowed to transfer music (“rip”) from a CD that they have purchased. In other words, you can only listen to your CD in your CD player– not on your computer, not on a mix CD you burn for your car, not on your iPod, not on your Rio MP3 player. Nowhere but a CD player.

Not only does this directly violate the definition of “fair use” in U.S. copyright law, it also violates the Sony v Betamax Supreme Court case twenty years ago. What’s more– and this is perhaps the best contradiction of all– it violates the very words of Don Verrilli, the lawyer for the RIAA in last year’s Supreme Court case MGM v Grokster:

The record companies, my clients, have said, for some time now, and it’s been on their website for some time now, that it’s perfectly lawful to take a CD that you’ve purchased, upload it onto your computer, put it onto your iPod.

Apparently a year later they’re changing their tune (ha! get it?) by reversing their position and insisting that if you want to listen to music on your computer, you have to pay to download it. Note that downloaded music is typically more expensive than that on a CD, on a per-song basis. Oh, and you want it on your iPod? Well, I guess you’ll have to buy another copy from a different vendor!



The last time Laralee and I went out to dinner on Valentine’s Day was in 1996. We decided (well, I decided) to repeat the feat in some wacky ten-year celebration, so we found a babysitter and left the kids in her capable hands while we headed out for dinner.

We had big plans to go to Outback Steakhouse, but when we arrived (around 5:45) they had a two-hour wait. Whoops. We figured we’d go down the street to the Texas Road House– another steak place– but their wait time was two and a half hours. We checked Chili’s, Red Robin, and anything else that wasn’t Wendy’s or Arby’s. Every place was packed.

In the end we had a nice dinner at the Pumphouse, which is a little bar and grill brewery in the middle of town, but I sure learned my lesson: on V-Day, call ahead for reservations. Luckily I won’t have to worry about it again until 2016.


One thing I honestly enjoy about being a programmer is the complete confusion that can be sown with a piece of particularly clever code. Shell scripting can be especially confusing to read. Today a post on a Linux mailing list to which I subscribe had a beautiful example:

So it seems obvious that one could do something like this:

for i in `find . -name “*.m4a”`; do ffmpeg -i “$i” -acodec mp3 -ac 2 -ab 192 “${i%m4a}mp3”; done && find . -name “*.m4a” -exec rm -f {} ;

That’s a direct cut-and-paste from the message. The best part is the “it seems obvious that…” line. To a shell programmer, the command is in fact obvious. To a mere mortal, it’s unbelievably obfuscated.

Talk about job security… I wave my magic wand and do things like this, and they just work. Heaven help the client who asks to see the man behind the curtain.