Google Blog:
So Google got hacked, huh?

"Actually, we didn't. What happened yesterday was that someone sent the latest version of the MyDoom computer virus out for a spin, and this version flooded search engines like ours with automated searches."

What was up with that "Error-27" page?

"Yeah, we've just learned that our error message for blocked queries isn't the friendliest or most informative communication we've ever had with our users. Hey, we didn't think we'd ever have to show it to anyone..."
We need to order a copy of Defensive Design for the Web... ;)



Mike Davidson:
"Apple has enjoyed the same sort of success with the iPod as Handspring has with the Treo. Both are very expensive devices which were eaten up by the public not because they filled niches, but rather because they created niches. There was no clamoring for a $400 portable music player before the iPod and there was no clamoring for a $600 phone before the Treo."



As of 4:31pm yesterday, I've been alive for a quarter of a century.

Far out.

Oliver the cat, my precious
Weekend birthdays are great, because they're essentially a significant-enough excuse to celebrate Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday night my Aunt and I chatted until the wee hours, and I stayed overnight at her place so I could cuddle with my precious. She gave me Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, into which I immediately dove. Nothing intrigues me more than the opposite sex, see...

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Saturday morning she made an amazing vege-brunch, and we played with Molly and Oliver and watched a good movie. In the afternoon Katie, Erin and I met Biz, Livia, Maggie (great pic) and Josh at Golden Gate Park in SF; we walked around, chatted, took some pictures, tossed the frisbee and ate tasty Whole Foods watermelon. Then Katie and Erin took me to Herbivore (in Ev's hood) for a to-die-for dinner... I think we were there for like three hours? Afterward, we went to Carla's place and played a group game called Celebrity, which she and her sister invented when they were kids—it's Cranium-ish but without all the discomfort and way more fun. Somebody remind me to explain the rules someday...

This morning I used Katie's laptop to check in with the usual suspects, and had a minor revelation regarding single sign-on; sigh... at least a geek can dream! </tangent> We watched a fun movie and had yummy breakfast on their deck in sunny Noe Valley.

Sushi Main Street, Half Moon Bay
For dinner, my Aunt, Sarah, Chrisann and Mark treated me to a wonderful feast at my favorite sushi restaurant in Half Moon Bay. On the ride home we were treated to what my landlords call the Valhalla Effect—the spectacular view of the cloud layer from Skyline Blvd.:

I repeat: I'm the luckiest kid in the world!



Salon, with a surprisingly quick turnaround time:
"On Monday afternoon, July 19, Stephen Yellin, a 16-year-old politics junkie and frequent contributor to the lefty blog Daily Kos, noticed an intriguing development in Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District, an area to the north of Philadelphia. The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call was reporting that Jim Greenwood, the district's popular, moderate Republican congressman, had unexpectedly decided not to seek reelection, meaning that his House seat was now up for grabs. This is the sort of news that sets partisans like Yellin jumping for joy, and so, of course, he blogged about it."


"Virginia "Ginny" Schrader, the Democrat running for the open seat, "supports civil unions and is against Bush's positions on Iraq and the Patriot Act," he noted approvingly. But she was woefully low on cash -- as of June 30, Schrader had only $7,000 in the bank. Yellin implored Daily Kos' politically obsessed readers to change that situation"


"What happened next was beyond anything that Yellin had expected. Hundreds of people began pitching in, documenting their small donations in the comments threads of Daily Kos and other blogs: "$25.01 coming from me." "$30.01 from me too." "Yeah, this liberal kicked in $20.01." (Daily Kos readers add in the extra penny as a kind of signature for the site, letting a campaign know where the money's coming from.) The tide came in for at least two full days, and when it was over, Ginny Schrader, a candidate who was recently unknown to even the most obsessive campaign watchers, found herself flush with more than $30,000. She was suddenly a political force to contend with."
Right on!



My morning Bloglines routine showed me this post on BoingBoing, about a statue park in Lithuania called Stalin World. I visited a different commie statue park (in Budapest) back in 4/2000 and thought I'd send Cory my photos to add to the original post. When I got to BoingBoing, somebody else had already written in about the park in Budapest. Sigh.

The official museum site won't show you these monstrosities, however:Ah, such wonderful memories of collegiate foolishness abroad!



iTunes import
Santa Amazon dropped off a few things yesterday. Will these cds ever touch a cd player again? Unlikely.

I *heart* my Mac!


"There's something to be said about multi-millionaire executives, making gadzillion dollar business deals and then walking out of the room and seeing the musical geniuses behind "COVET YOUR CUTENESS" staring back at them.


Dom, yesterday in IM:
"i've been trying to make Automator work for me. so far, i have it downloading the Astronomy Pic of the Day and setting as Desktop, then, reading me news.google.com"



Danny O'Brien: "We should be down to a sub-$500 terabyte some time next year."



The Onion

From an interview with one of The Onion's proprietors:
"The emails I like the best are the ones where someone believes The Onion is real, or someone doesn't really get a straight-faced or sarcastic article and soapboxes to us the very point that we were trying to convey with the article. The emails are really hilarious, actually. When we did this op-ed, 'Mary Kate Is Dragging Ashley Down' and we got 800 emails in big pink letters protesting this. They were the best thing ever."

Back in Bangkok

Mike & green papaya salad
Not me, alas—Sieburg's there now, en route to Vietnam for another lengthy stay. Fortunately for us, he's putting his writing skills to work in a new blog, No Star Where, the Vietnamese translation for "no problem at all." I've been having random Bangkok flashbacks lately, mainly involving food, so I was happy to read in one of his posts that, "The pad thai is always tasty and cheap. And the fresh orange juice is the same." He's not kidding when he says cheap—a small dish of the best pad thai on the planet will cost you $0.25 from the street vendors. My mouth is watering just thinking about it...

His story gets better:
"I sat outside talking with our driver. He asks me where I am going next. And I say, "VN." And the first thing he says is "What are the gas prices like there?" Ha. Even people here have an almost compulsive fixation with gas prices. I do the math converting Dong into Dollars into Baht. And he smiles and says, "It's cheaper here." I can almost imagine motorbike taxi's in VN driving to Thailand for cheaper gas even though they are negating the cheaper price by driving to Thailand. It's kind of like when people drive from Marietta, OH to Parkersburg, WV for gas that is $.03 cheaper. Mom?"
And better:
"But earlier in the day, I had asked the tuk-tuk driver how much he pays for gas in one day. He told me 100 baht ($2.50). That's high. He was only charging us 10 baht for an hour of driving us around. At that pace, it would take 10 hours of work to pay for a day's worth of gas."


Carb This!

New York Times: "Ultimately, it's not the carbohydrates — or the next unsuspecting food group that will come under attack — that will make us overweight. It's our relationship with food and our lifestyle. In other words, how we eat is just as important — if not more so — than what we eat."

[via Kottke]


Wired recently posted a fascinating article about Dubai and its quest to become the "media capital" of the Middle East:
Dubai - sandboarder
Unlike neighboring Saudi Arabia, Dubai has never treated its oil as an eternal proposition; oil supplies are expected to last only two more decades, a short-term bankroll to build a better nation. So Dubai has branched out, working to diversify its economy with shipping, tourism, and finance. It's making headway: Last year, only 17 percent of Dubai's gross domestic product came from oil revenue, behind services, transportation, tourism, and hospitality. In comparison, the petroleum sector accounts for 45 percent of Saudi Arabia's GDP.


Dubai - sandboarder
"In the 30 years since the UAE was founded, Dubai's population has gone from 30,000 to 1 million. Yet only 18 percent of residents are UAE citizens. The rest come from around the world: wage laborers from Asia and the Indian subcontinent; hotel staff from India and Pakistan, the Philippines, and eastern Europe. At the top of the expat heap are handsomely compensated European executives."


"Perhaps Dubai's most daring free-zone enterprise is Media City, which aims to challenge Cairo as the media capital of the Arab world... Media City offers something neither Cairo nor the rest of the Arab-speaking world can: more freedom of speech. By promising not to censor broadcasts or meddle with programming, Dubai has drawn hundreds of operations to Media City, like international giants CNN and Reuters and what's now become its flagship media group - MBC, the Middle East Broadcasting Company."



A site currently making the linkblog rounds is 10Eastern FoundPhotos:
"these were found by doing a search using p2p programs. people share their own personal digital photos in their shared folders, i guess they put them there for friends or family to download or just select their whole my documents folder as shared."
When I pulled up the site earlier today, this photo was near the top of the page:

10eastern - Tepoztlán

I recognized the place immediately—Tepozteco pyramid, Tepoztlán, México—I was there in 9/2001 and I'll never forget that climb. Surf-México describes it accurately:
"The climb is steep and arduous (the pyramid is about 600 meters above the base of the valley) and timing for the ascent depends totally upon the physical condition of the climber. It can be muddy and slippery in the rainy season and for many, difficult at the best of times."
It dawned on me there that slipping/dying probably wasn't an uncommon event. I was wearing sneakers, but Azucena (my amigovia—see comment #14) as well as most of the Mexican tourists somehow managed the trek in flip-flops!

Alas, I don't have a similar photo looking up the ladder; I recall there was quite a traffic jam of disgruntled, winded folk and I didn't want to stall it further. Fortunately some other folks have been to the same spot and posted their photos; here's one looking down the ladder:

Atop the pyramid climb, Tepoztlán

Here are my photos from the adventure; this one sums up the climb pretty well:

The Tepoztlán pyramid climb


Like Graham, I just finished listening to Asimov's I, Robot (via Audible). Whenever a book is made into a movie, I try to read the book before seeing the film—I prefer to indulge my mind in the author's original world first, before the story becomes forever associated (in my mind) with the director's interpretation. After watching the trailer however, it doesn't look like the movie has much (if anything) to do with the book...

Listen to the Music

Ottmar took a stunning, thought-provoking photo today:
A picture named Roseburg, Oregon

"The concert series in Roseberg, Oregon, is free to the public and people come out early in the morning and claim their spot by putting a blanket down on the lawn before going to work."


Heading home...

(just playing with flickr's HOTT new feature...)



"People in the U.S. consume more packaged drinks per capita than in any other country—about 350 aluminum cans per person per year, compared to 103 in Sweden, 88 in the United Kingdom and 14 in France."

(courtesy of Good Stuff? A Behind-the-Scenes Guide to the Things We Buy, an online guide from the Worldwatch Institute.)

[via Heifer's 7/8-2004 World Ark]