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Washington trip Sun, Jul 30, 2006
Wendy and I took a trip to Washington state to visit my sister and her husband.  We went to Mount Rainier, Olympic National Park, Seattle, and Mount St. Helens. 

Pictures: more »

Web-based SSH (1) Thu, Jul 27, 2006
I'm new to this whole SSH thing.  SSH is basically a secure way to logon to your website.  It's more secure than things like FTP or TELNET because it uses lots of encryption and authentication.  It's very un-graphical, meaning that it's text-based like the command prompt in windows. 

I needed to use SSH for something on my website, so I looked for ways to do it.  The most useful thing I found was MindTerm, which is a web-based SSH client.  Instead of downloading some stupid text entry SSH client, I wanted to keep my website web-based (following my pattern of web-based FTP, RSS, and email).  This single java file makes it possible.  It's pretty simple:  Put the file in a directory on your webserver and call it in an applet.  Now you can do all those fancy (archaic) command line things like gzip, ls, and chmod.  (I'm sure this has something to do with Linux.) #technology

Spider catcher Thu, Jul 27, 2006
No, this isn't about my cat Dilbert

A company in the UK is selling a device for catching spiders.  It uses soft bristles and a long pole to ensure the capture is humane for the spider and safe for the catcher.  Personally, if I saw a spider that size in my house, I'd probably run outside and burn the house down.  (via Mental Floss)


Bee (4) Wed, Jul 26, 2006
Am I fearless?  Or just plain stupid?  This picture was taken with no zoom, meaning I was about an inch from this hungry little bee. 


Cooled car seat Wed, Jul 26, 2006
I'm exothermic:  I give off heat.  Under normal operating conditions, my body produces more heat than it can use.  This becomes uncomfortably evident when I'm driving during the summer.  I don't know if it's because of the cloth material of my car seats or just because cars absorb so much heat from the sun, but I get some incredible back sweat when I drive.  Whether I have the windows open or the air conditioning blasting, I get pretty sweaty. 

To cure this, I have an invention idea:  Cooled car seats.  Heated car seats have been available in fancy cars for a while, but I never hear anything about cooled seats.  Fortunately (or unfortunately if I wanted to make a bunch of money), cooled car seats already exist.  The California Car Cover Company sells an air-cooled seat cover for $60.  Cool or Heat sells a combined heated and cooled thermoelectric seat cover for $120.  W.E.T. makes a product that uses forced air to heat or cool the seat.  I couldn't find any water-cooled seats, but I wouldn't be surprised if they exist. 

While these products are great, they're only available for a niche market.  And if they come pre-installed in cars, they're only in high-end cars that old and/or rich people buy.  What about me?  What about the semi-average person with the semi-cheap car?  I probably wouldn't buy the type of car that had cooled seats to begin with, so aftermarket would definitely be the way to go.  But I'm not the kind of person who hangs out at car parts stores, installing fancy new rims and stupid exhaust systems that give my car 2 more horsepower.  I'm a chain store kind of guy.  It's all about convenience and destroying the little man. 

So Mr. Walmart, if you're reading this, please sell some cooled car seats in your stores.  I'll be the first to buy one. #products

Different kinds of bloggers Wed, Jul 26, 2006
Just a little observation:  I've noticed that there are many different kinds of bloggers.  Some people write about their daily lives and events.  Some people almost never talk about anything personal.  Some people collect, organize, and share links they find on the internet.  Some people write about a certain topic or focus on really specific things.  Some people talk about web design or Linux.  Some people write about sports, music, or movies.  Some people regurgitate what they read on other blogs.  Some people talk about their feelings and/or problems.  Some people talk about people and/or celebrities. 

Which kind am I?  Some sort of combination of all of the above. #technology

Mike and Ike Wed, Jul 26, 2006
Mike and Ikes are a very underrated candy.  People don't put them in candy dishes when guests come over.  They aren't usually handed out for Halloween.  My mom never put them in my easter basket. 

I think they have a lot going for them: 
• They're basically just elongated jelly beans.  I like jelly beans.  Hence, I like Mike and Ikes. 

• The colors and corresponding flavors are reliable.  There aren't any white ones or black ones (and black candies are without a doubt the worst flavor of candy in all of candy-dom), which are usually problematic colors.  With a box full of fruity flavors, the green ones are lime-flavored, just as they should be. 

• They come in a box that's just about small enough to finish in one sitting. 

• They're made by Just Born, makers of Peeps

Clear commenter info Tue, Jul 25, 2006
I added a link on the comment form to clear the commenter's info.  Some people think it's weird that my site remembers their name and email address.  Don't worry, I probably won't sell your personal information to a marketing company.  Probably. 

I put this PHP code in my header:
if($_GET['deletecookie']) {
  setcookie('comment_author_' . COOKIEHASH, '', time() + 30000000, COOKIEPATH, COOKIE_DOMAIN);
  setcookie('comment_author_email_' . COOKIEHASH, '', time() + 30000000, COOKIEPATH, COOKIE_DOMAIN);
  setcookie('comment_author_url_' . COOKIEHASH, '', time() + 30000000, COOKIEPATH, COOKIE_DOMAIN);
  unset($comment_author, $comment_author_email, $comment_author_url);
  $location = $_SERVER['HTTP_REFERER'];
And I added a link to ?deletecookie=1 in the comment form.  It's relatively simple, but it took a while to figure out.  I tried a few plugins that claimed to do this for me, but nothing seemed to work, so I went with the manual code. #technology

UFC Tue, Jul 25, 2006
I'm an unlikely fan of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.  A sport that mixes boxing, kickboxing, martial arts, and wrestling doesn't sound like something that would appeal to me.  I'm more of a ball sport kind of guy.  And even then, I'm not much of an athlete, nor am I very macho.  I prefer the company of puppies and butterflies.  Not really. 

But there's just something awesome about watching two guys beat the life out of each other.  And it's not just about punching each other in the head like boxing.  It involves a lot more strategy and strength.  And it has nothing to do with getting your opponent in a certain position and holding him there for a certain amount of time like wrestling.  It has everything to do with knocking your opponent out with repeated elbows to the face.  It has everything to do with getting your opponent to submit by trapping them in an armbar or a chokehold.  It has everything to do with punching and kicking and kneeing your opponent until they're incoherent, all the while attempting to dodge your opponent's retaliation and escape his submission holds. 

As a Christian, it seems kind of wrong to support violence and bloodshed.  It's difficult to be a Christian and legitimately support things like war and the death penalty.  So in a way, I wish I didn't like UFC.  I wish I didn't find it interesting.  I wish I didn't find it morbidly fascinating.  But the fact is, it's an incredible sport.  I watch it while partially covering my eyes.  The shedding of blood and the tolerance for pain is almost sickening.  But it's just so cool. 

In my defense, I'll claim this:  People participate in this sport as a choice.  They're not drafted in.  They're not drugged or enslaved.  They're not offered huge salaries or mega-fame (though there's some of each involved).  They enter knowing full well that their bodies will be bruised and beaten and that they may suffer major consequences as a result.  Like my brother-in-law claims of his job as an army captain, "It's a volunteer army."  And while that point may be argued, it certainly can't be argued for this sport.  It's a choice.  They choose to fight.  I choose to watch. #sports

25 important questions Tue, Jul 25, 2006
Neatorama has a list of the 25 Most Important Questions in the History of the Universe (with some sort of collaboration from Mental Floss).  Some of the more interesting ones (in my opinion) include: 
Can a Pregnant Woman Drive in the Carpool Lane?
Why Does Hawaii Have Interstate Highways?
Was Turkey a Bird or a Country First?
How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck if a Woodchuck Could Chuck Wood?
Why Can't You Tickle yourself?

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