Recently in Misc Category

Odd Hack

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This machine got partially hacked over the weekend. From what I can tell, Ziproxy was compromised and used to submit spam email through my system. Because my mail sever accepts local email, it was going out. It looks like only yahoo emails were being hit. Of course, the spam was coming from China.

Since I turned off Ziproxy, I haven’t seen any odd email originating from my machine.

Panda’s Thumb Offline

The Panda’s Thumb is down right now, and as far as I can tell other servers at our Texas location are out as well. If Dallas had any storms over the night, then PT could have been kicked off the internet. Hopefully, they’ll be back up this evening.


Of course, as I post this it comes back up.

This is funny on so many levels. A hardware store manager got so fed up with customers requesting male-male adapters for joining Christmas lights together that he posted a sign letting people know why he did not carry them. Male-male adapters are obviously dangerous, and it amazes me that people were asking for them.

I guess I can’t be that amazed; people tend to be lazy and stupid, and using a male-male adapter instead of following the proper procedures for joining strings of lights on a tree (see Deuteronomy) sounds exactly like something they’d think was a good idea. Didn’t they learn anything when California recently passed Proposition 8, which requires that all male-male adapters separate into two, lonely single male adapters? Female-female adapters are still considered a form of art (mostly interpretative dance).


And if you don’t understand this comment, I will not explain it to your sensitive ears.

I didn’t realize that using the wrong adapter is “possible immoral.” If the sign creator thinks those adapters are sinful, I’d hate to hear what he or she thinks of a Jenna Jameson movie.

Lego Computer


I wonder if I can get grant money for this. Or better yet, a cluster.

California Rattin

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Domino Gates

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Let’s see Avida do this!

Pen Ultimate Thursday

Download Day 2008

Firefox 3 was released today, with several nice features that improve some subtle glitches in our layout. Yay!

Pen Ultimate Thursday


Pen Ultimate Thursday


What is 2+2 in Wood?

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Check out this creation, the Bene Gesserit would be happy.

Pen Ultimate Thursday

Pen Ultimate Thursday


Robotic Ball Launcher

Now playing fetch is even easier:

Pen Ultimate Thursday



Why you should get a Wii

Another Gamer Screwed by Microsoft:

So he called beforehand and was told he would receive his exact console back. He also included a letter just to cover all his bases. I bet you think you know what happens next. If you were to guess that Microsoft sent him a different plain white console back, you would be wrong.

They sent him his Xbox 360 back. The front serial number and the back serial number match up exactly. So what is the problem then? Someone at the repair center took the time to clean his console case. Despite the fact that the repairs that needed to be done were inside the console, someone wiped down the outside of the case. Wiped it down so well in fact that all of the signatures and artwork are completely gone. All that is left are some smudges and the unmistakable purple-ish hue of diluted permanent ink.

What’s that Saying?


We’re under water restrictions in Raleigh, so in our house we use that old saying to conserve water in the bathroom. How does it go again?

If it’s yellow, leave it mellow.

If it’s blood, call 9-1-1.

Nah, I don’t think that is right.

Colorblind-Enabled Graphics

Some time last year one of the students mentioned the question of designing figures and presentations for colorblind members of the audience. (With the way academics dress, you’d think there were a lot of them.) I can’t remember what was said about the rules for designing such figures, but I do think about it now and then: “Should I really mix reds and greens in this important figure?”

In that vein, I came across an interesting article about game design for the chromatic-impaired: “Ramblings of a colorblind gamer.”

You know Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis? Is that game any good? Because I wouldn’t know.

Table Tennis relies very heavily on the player’s ability to see the color of the ping pong ball’s trail. If the ball leaves a green streak in the air, it’s got forward spin. If it’s got a yellow streak, it’s got backspin. That’s what it seems like to you, anyway: to me, there is only the blue streak and then three other ball trails of identical color which I cannot, in my wildest dreams, hope to differentiate between. There are very subtle visual cues to differentiate forward spin from backspin, but they don’t give the player the immediate visual feedback a simple color does.

When I tried to play Table Tennis the first time, I immediately noticed the color-based spin system and, despite my best attempts (in this context, “best attempts” means “continually hitting the downspin button and cursing violently when my shot doesn’t work the way I want it to”), I got my ass handed to me by my non-mutated friends.



I’ve migrated the javascripts on this site from the Prototype library to jQuery. Let me know if anything breaks.

Compression Enabled

Last night I modified the server config to add compression to html, text, css, and javascript files. Let me know if you see any issues. Last time we tried this on PT, it broke IE’s refresh control.

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