Understanding one's colleagues(?)

I regularly browse the various aggregations of recent blog postings from my colleagues; it’s a good way of finding out what they’re up to. Of course Sun is an international company, and so I find myself skipping over contributions from Old Boy, Eike, and others. But occasionally one will catch my eye, and I’ll wonder what it might be about. Today I noticed that Joerg had posted a piece entitled Soundtrack of a love affair, including some interesting song titles. I decided to use Google’s language tools to translate it from German to English. The result was not quite what I’d expected….

With a coffee (naja, were at the end of two coffee, three beer and much to kalorienhaltiges meal) I together-sat before not all too-long time with friends. Typically there the topics are rather turned off quite soon either (Schroedinger’s mattress with a similar meeting developed. One closes two humans of different sex into a black cardboard: Do they sleep with one another or not? And are they nekrophil, because they are at the same time dead and alive? And which one makes with the whole dead cats?), very depressive (“everything shits and anyway “, and no, that is not always I) or couchig in the freudschen sense (“no, which you thus may not see, you may yourself that not to hearts take. Sie/er/es meant nevertheless completely differently.”). The question was whether one can tell the complete history of a relationship in a Compilation. 74 minutes are available. Which songs would one take? How did one become it aneinandereihen? The question still employed me some time. I times wrote, music the sound TRACK to the life is. So it should be nevertheless actually possible to describe the complete cycle of a relationship in the process of a clay/tone carrier. Here thus “sound TRACK OF A love affair – The Moellenkamp variation”…

[UPDATE] Joerg has posted his own English translation.

The blogger's nightmare

Candorville:candorville comic

An obsessive-compulsive blogger is one who knows all of the HTML markup for ™, ©, ®, ∀, ∃, †, ‡, €. A super-obsessive-compulsive blogger is someone who also knows about the conflicts between the various markup specs! (I’m neither.)

Is David Broder as clueless as Michael Brown?

In the wake of Katrina, most of the media has abandoned the fawning, deferential and sycophantic stance that they’d adopted towards Bush. At first they were inclined to withhold judgement: after all, Bush is known for being slow off the mark. But as one example of cluelessness and insensitivity followed another – the stupidity of the FEMA hack, Bush’s awful speech, Condi’s Imelda moment, Bush’s jokes about Trent Lott’s house, his expressions of support for incompetent subordinates – things reached a tipping point. Most of the media joined in the upwelling expression of anger towards Bush: Stop screwing around smirking at the cameras; fire that unqualified loser Michael Brown that you put in charge of FEMA, cancel Cheney’s vacation, and all of you roll your sleeves up and get down to work, doing the job we pay you to do!!

As Andrew Sullivan points out in the Sunday Times

“The president’s approval ratings were already in the very low 40s. The tracking poll of his response to the crisis showed discontent rising fast. By Friday, 70% were saying the government had not done enough; and a majority disapproved of the president’s handling of the crisis. At times like this, people normally rally round their president. This time, many are turning on him. And my sense is that this is just the beginning. On Friday the Republican Senator Susan Collins announced her intent to launch an investigation into what went wrong. “

But not all of the media has sensed this trend. Case in point: David Broder in the Washington Post, still drifting in Bush’s cloud-cuckoo-land:

“The challenges posed by this natural disaster are in some ways even more difficult than those of the terrorist attack, with anger and frustration now being expressed about the response of governments at all levels. But for a president who believes that actions speak louder than words, this is an advantageous setting.”

An “advantageous setting”? A fortunate distraction from Iraq and Plamegate? Sorry, David: when even Fox News is turning on the President, things are not “advantageous”. Perhaps, like the head of FEMA, you should pay attention to what’s going on in the real world…

[UPDATE] Howard Kurtz has a piece in today’s Washington Post commenting on the new-found passion of [some of] the journalists covering Katrina. Money quote:

For once, reporters were acting like concerned citizens, not passive observers. And they were letting their emotions show, whether it was ABC’s Robin Roberts choking up while recalling a visit to her mother on the Gulf Coast or CNN’s Jeanne Meserve crying as she described the dead and injured she had seen.

Maybe, just maybe, journalism needs to bring more passion to the table — and not just when cable shows are obsessing on the latest missing white woman.

The year of the tyre

A nail-biting Italian Grand Prix… and once again it all came down to tyres. First we had the astonishing qualifying performance by Raikkonen: he had to change an engine, so he was penalized 10 places on the grid. To compensate, he opted for a one-stop strategy and filled his fuel tank to the brim – and he still got the fastest time in qualifying! Stunning. Next, Raikkonen fought all the way up to second place, only to have the left rear tyre fail; the pit stop dropped him to 12th, and he wound up 4th. Finally, Jan-Pablo Montoya, who had led the race from the pole, started to experience the same kind of tyre failure. It was hard to repress memories of Raikkonen’s last lap crash at the European Grand Prix, but Montoya had enough of a lead over Alonso that he was able to slow down* and hold on for the win.

Two interesting notes. First, there were no retirements from the race; Montoya reported that this caused real traffic problems for the leaders. And second, Michael Schumacher finished out of the points, in 10th place. This means that he’s mathematically eliminated from the race for the championship, even though there still are four more races in the season.

Next week is the Belgian Grand Prix from one of my favourite tracks, Spa. Unfortunately I’ll be at a hotel in Louisville, Colorado, and they don’t offer Speed TV on their cable system. So I’ll have to follow the race via the web.

* Of course, “slow down” is relative: we’re talking about no more than 2 or 3 percent

The secret to a long life

The BBC reported on Tuesday that the oldest person in the world, a 115 year old Dutch woman named Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper (“Hennie”), had just died. When she assumed the title last year, reporters asked the inevitable “to what do you attribute, etcetera” questions, and she gave a conventional answer: “I eat a herring every day and I drink a glass of orange juice every day for the vitamins.” However I suspect the real reason was emotional rather than dietary:

Mrs van Andel was a passionate football fan, and supported Ajax of Amsterdam, the Netherlands’ leading team, for most of her life.

(More support for the thesis expounded in How soccer explains the world.)

"Taking all the right steps"

From yesterday’s Gawker:

“According to Drudge, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has recently enjoyed a little Broadway entertainment. And Page Six reports that she’s also working on her backhand with Monica Seles. So the Gulf Coast has gone all Mad Max, women are being raped in the Superdome, and Rice is enjoying a brief vacation in New York. We wish we were surprised.

What does surprise us: Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we’ve confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPo’s Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice’s timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, “How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!” Never one to have her fashion choices questioned, Rice had security PHYSICALLY REMOVE the woman”

(Via Salon.)

Usage stats

I just realized that as part of the upgrade of grommit to Solaris 10, my usage statistics were no longer being updated. (I use Webalizer; you can see the report that it generates here.) I logged in to grommit, and saw at once that my cron job wasn’t running. This was actually a good thing, since the Webalizer binaries were all compiled for Linux!

The natural thing would have been to grab the source and rebuild Webalizer, but when I arrived at the download page I noticed that there was a prebuilt distribution for Solaris 2.8 on x86. The Solaris engineers work hard to maintain 100% binary compatibility, and Brad writes really clean code, so it should just work, right?

And it did. Kudos all round.


I visited my local Barnes & Noble this evening to pick up a handful of work-related books – necessary stuff, but unexciting. To compensate (yeah, yeah – pathetic excuse), I decided to treat myself to a philosophy book: Simon Blackburn’s Truth: A Guide. Earlier this week I had read Andrew O’Hehir’s review in Salon, which I heartily recommend; it’s one of those delightful reviews that stays with you all the way to the bookshop. I got home and read the Introduction while steaming some asparagus.* By the time the stalks yielded to the tip of my knife, I was hooked. Partly it’s Blackburn’s stance – recognizing the strengths of the absolutist and relativist positions without sliding into the mushy ambivalence that he decries – but mostly it’s the economy and clarity of his writing. I can tell that I’m going to enjoy this.

* The humidity has finally broken, and I was able to turn off the A/C and open the house up. Bliss! I usually avoid cooking techniques that produce steam when it’s really humid.


Inspired by Juan Cole, Majikthise, and others I’ve added the Liberal Blogs for Hurricane Relief ad to my sidebar. If you’re a PayPal user, it’s painless (as long as it doesn’t get overloaded). However, if your employer matches charitable donations (as Sun does), please use their procedure and skip this ad. I want to see the Liberal Blogs initiative succeed, but I’m much more interested in seeing the maximum amount going to the American Red Cross.

Now I can start to blog about it….

This afternoon we finally got the email announcing that the SunStorageTek deal had officially closed. I’ve been waiting anxiously for this moment, because for the last month or two I’ve been a member of the Integration Team, working on various aspects of the deal. I’m having an absolute blast, working with some really great people and learning about some incredibly cool technologies*, but I haven’t been able to blog about any of it! All of that changes now, and I plan to post a number of pieces about what I’ve been up to and what this deal is all about.

And those of you that have been through M&A** events will know that the pre-close activity is only the beginning: the real work starts tomorrow, Day One. It’s going to be fun – even if it does mean spending more time at Denver airport and relying on the “high-speed Internet” and “complimentary breakfast buffet” in certain medium-stay hotels near Broomfield, CO.

* all strictly within the legal guidelines, naturally!
** merger and acquisition