Archive for March, 2010

Okay, not so much the company, but their search Terms of Service.

Okay, I didn’t so much violate their Terms of Service as their automated bots thought I did.

Actually the irony was that their automated bots thought I was an automated bot.

I suppose, the real irony is that this situation was inspired by today’s web comic on XKCD and as a result deserves to become a daily comic on XKCD.

I am without a doubt a statistics freak. I love crunching numbers. I love using Excel. (I think this is why the MacBU was scared of me)

My most recent uses of Excel have been:

So back to today’s XKCD. It was a statistician’s dream. All those wonderful google statistics. Of course I found myself wondering, “What about age?” I also found myself wondering about the extreme ends that were edited out from the illustrations. So I tried a few of the samples. The numbers are pretty much accurate. So I figured… “My turn!!!!!”

I opened up my browser and typed in, “I am 3 years old.” I got a surprisingly high response. Of course then I realised that this was likely the doing of parents who were enthusiastically writing about their toddlers. “I am 2 years old.” Similar response. I did 4, then 5. Then I realised. I should write these down. I opened up Simple Text. (That’s better than notepad for the Mac Impaired). I did about 15 more. Then I realised I should be doing this in Excel. So, I back paged on my browser to keep the pages in order. Then I front paged again recording the data. About 5 later I got a Google “Sorry” page.

I’d never seen this beast before. The help page told me that Google perceived me to be an automated bot which is not permitted by the terms of service. This page also directed me to a form where I could type in my name, email, and IP. No place for an explanation. Well, carp (sic) my IP had been blocked from making Google searches. Oddly after I reported the form my search came back in about 30 seconds. Ah… no harm no foul. So I went back to work. Hey… XKCD could do it, why not me. I got up to 97 and it happened again. Went back to the form. Nothing. Now there was no google. My entire home network goes through this IP. (Not my served domains, just the end users in the house).

Turns out, Google really isn’t to responsive to these problems. The user is left to their own devices. Their own devices being defined as asking their ISP to change their IP. Granted, discovering this was not easy as I no longer had “Google” to use as a tool. It would seem that Yahoo still has its uses. Well, after a good half hour of reading vitriolic “Google Hate” boards the answer revealed itself to me. It turns out that Google simply (redacted) vicious (redacted) and all you have to do is (redacted) assuming you can figure out which (redacted) and then everything is fine again.

But in the mean time… I now know what age people say they are on the interwebz.

This chart fascinates me for several reasons. First off, it seems that people are most eager to express their age at 7. Of course there is some drift when you consider that there are song titles and lyrics that include the line, “I am (x) years old.”

What’s really nifty is that people tend to go on 3-4 year cycles of talking about it and NOT talking about it. Er. Writing about it. 43 is such a peak between 40 and 47.

Looking at the posts it’s also amusing to see what people are saying with their statements of age. Kids are talking about pride. Teens have problems. Young adults are talking about things they do. 30s-50s are talking about work. 60’s-80’s are talking about medical procedures and health. And Ironically past 80’s it’s all about the pride of still being able to post on the net.

Looking at these little cycles I decided to cluster ages by 3 and 4. So in one chart I’ve done: 1-3, 4-6, 5-9, etc. In the next I’ve done: 1-4, 5-8, 9-12. If I cared I’d be really tempted to graph astrological returns onto this.

Hits on google for "I am (x) years old" grouped by 3.

Hits on google for "I am (x) years old" grouped by 4.

The good news is that since then, my Google search has been restored. And I am free to hunt after free roaming data again.

This is another posting that are comes from the site Formspring. Again, these will be marked with a FQ at the beginning of the post title and the post will be appropriately tagged. (Eventually, I’ll stop adding this upper bit)

Is there anything you wish you could do over and do differently, and if so, what? Is it possible to live a life without regrets, or are just the words of the young and arrogant?

Nothing beats a light-hearted and easy question. Once again I have to give two answers to the first part. The quick answer, which is not the accurate one, is “Of course, there’s tonnes I’d love to go change.” (Correct answer is forthcoming)

I’m one of those people who’d love to go back in time and whisper in my younger self’s ear a few choice phrases at the right time. I’d love to lose a few savings accounts and find a couple of lost treasures. My grandmother’s kitchen table had SCORES of photos from my youth from the time I was born until about the age of 10. I would KILL to see those photos again. As it is, I now have ONE photo from my childhood that is not a school picture. And even those are only recent additions.

There are {en:Significant_other|SOs} that I’d love to stop my self from dating and mistakes I made in the carelessness of youth. There’s one very special person to me that I lost due to a combination of bad timing, bad decisions, and worst of all: being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Do I wish I could do over and do differently. … The correct answer is “No.” Does the idea entertain me to no end? Oh, absolutely. And I can sum up the accurate reason for never wishing this in one word. “Aiden.” I wouldn’t have my son in my life right now if anything in my life had been different. Even though the film is utterly traumatic, I recommend “The Butterfly Effect.” Actually, I don’t. I think I’d like to go back and prevent myself from having seen it. Read {en:Ray_Bradbury|Bradbury}’s “{en:A_Sound_of_Thunder|A Sound of Thunder}” from his collection “{en:R_is_for_Rocket|R is for Rocket}” ({en:Serenity_(film)|Yes, I’ve read a book. Try not to faint.})

And anyway I did role-playing games as a kid. I know what a Dungeon Master thinks when you make a wish. This never works out well. This is a true moment to enjoy what you have and not try to “what if” yourself into “what could have been” from the myriad of infinity. Granted… Having a child you love will do that to you.

But wait… there is more. Is it possible to live a life without regrets, or are these (ed. mine) just the words of the young and the arrogant?

I must greatly fight the urge to type, “Yes” and then end the post. But would I regret such a move? Personally, I think regret is a natural process of maturation. Just because you’ve done something that in your heart was the best decision, it doesn’t mean it’s not going to hurt, cause annoyance, sadness, … what have you.

I am estranged from the immediate blood family that raised me. This was neither an easy decision nor a quick one. It took a lot of soul searching, a lot of learning who I am, and what I need to be a healthy and functional individual. Most of this happened as the result of the loss of my father. Some could reason that his condition was aided by me telling him to go to a shelter. There have been so many things that I have done, that even after years of doubt and pain, in my mind, I know they were the right things. Doesn’t make it any easier. Not having a father today to ask what I was like as a boy as I try to raise my own… Oh, yeah… There’s sadness and sometimes there is even depression.

Look at the definition… It’s {en:Regret_(emotion)|regret}. I think it’s actually an incorrect definition of ‘regret’ that causes the young and arrogant to say that they shall live without regret. The problem is that most people think, “If I have regret; then I admit that what I did was wrong.” There are many actions I wish I had not done. Some seemed like the right decision at the time. Some still seem like the right decision. Some absolutely were the right decision and I still wish I hadn’t done them.

Do I feel that I had consciously violated ethics or morality in my life? No. Do I feel that I have actively been dishonourable at points in my life? I do not know. I think honour is one of those things that is like Karma. It can be spent and earned. Honour is not something we teach to the young. Matter of fact we completely cheapen the idea of Honour by tying it to excellence, which is at times very far from Honour. And as an A-Honour roll student in my youth… I know of what I speak.

Do I reflect on actions of my youth and question my ethics at time? Oh hells yes. I can clearly see one if not two people who I can say I acted beyond improperly with and would twelve-step myself oblivion to try to make amends for the behaviour of an under-21-year old. One person that I knew has said they don’t even want to hear my name again. So much for forgiveness. These are in addition to the person I lost.

I’ve made mistakes. Granted, I don’t think that I’ve actively ever set out to hurt anyone. I have called people out on breaking the rules and have been tenacious about it. I’ve had less than pure thoughts and thank the universe that I’m Jewish and don’t believe in Hell.

So, I have regrets. This doesn’t answer the question. The question was: Is it possible to live life without regret, or are these just words for the young and arrogant. The reduction is Yes. Yes on the first half, no on the second. I think inevitably people have to decide for themselves those wonderful old concepts of “Right and Wrong” and the relative responsibility for actions in relation to a persons place and emotional connection to it.

Huh? Well, lets be honest. A psychopath isn’t going to feel any regrets or any emotion about their behaviours and they come in all ages and arrogance isn’t always on the menu.

Scared yet :?)

CPT Sampson Luke and FamilyI don’t talk about my blood family very often. I’m not just referring to online. My first cousin who is just a year younger than myself, lost her husband suddenly a little over a month ago. CPT Samson T. Luke was on a National Guard drill weekend. The family was notified that his death was an “active” status death. Two weeks later this was changed with no explanation to “inactive” death status. As a result much of the monetary, education, and health care, and funereal benefits are being denied that were previously promised. You can see more on this story from an excerpt of a CNN report.

CPT Luke leaves behind my cousin Miranda and their four children. This is an urgent matter as Miranda has been left fighting the DoD for the benefits promised rather than taking care of her family and trying to move on from this horrible tragedy. The Department of Defense is deciding if the family is eligible to receive benefits they had been promised and are entitled. If you feel moved to help  please cut and paste the letter below, dating and signing your name and address and mailing as quickly as possible as this is a time sensitive matter. Please feel free to distribute this letter to anyone that may want to help. Thank you advance for your support.

Dr. Robert Gates
U.S. Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington D.C. 20301

Dr. Gates,

I am writing on behalf of CPT Samson T. Luke’s family. CPT Luke passed away January 10, 2010 during a Arkansas National Guard drill weekend. His wife, Miranda, and their four children were told Sam’s death was an “active” status death. Two and a half weeks later CPT Luke’s status was inexplicably changed to an “inactive” death status. This action denies the family the monetary, education, health care benefits and funeral expenses that were promised.

CPT Luke was active duty Army and now in the National Guard for over a decade serving two times in Iraq. Sam’s family has supported Sam and the military throughout his career.
This family has been through so much. They deserve the proper consideration in this matter. Please return CPT Luke’s death status back to “active” and help this military widow provide for their four young children during this difficult time.

This situation is of the utmost concern to me and I would like be kept informed of the resolution of this matter. I can be reached at:



Two little tasks ahead for me in the next day or so.

First: I am trying to implement a smarter formmail in php so that my multiple domains can handle it without it becoming a security whole.

Second: I am looking to write a worm for my SQL database to fix the Categories on roughly 250 posts that are labelled as “Uncategorised” even though they have the correct category. I suppose this would make a good WP-Tool.

I think I have mostly fixed the issue with the LiveJournal importer, so I’ll be working with my one customer on that this week.

Nothing really pithy today as the weekend has been consumed by toddler and clock changes. So overall, I just want to fall over.

I tawt I taw a Twitter

  • 14:47 It’s fairly thin. But I am once again goatee’d #
  • 22:49 Amazingly, “Space:1999” stand up to the test of time. Sure some is dated, but it was YEARS ahead of its time. #
  • 23:08 RT @livingartist: I’ve figured out why Green Eggs and Ham squicks me. Sam-I-Am has real issues with consent and personal boundaries. #
  • 23:10 Can someone explain to me why @livingartist is now sobbing and tearing up pictures of our bed? #

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