Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Two kid-related things.

Cognitive: This morning, The Girl was on the phone to her grandmother (who lives across the road). The Girl held up a pink shirt to the phone, and said, "Look! I have a pink Dorothy the Dinosaur shirt!”

Of course, Mum can’t see it over the phone – but that didn’t occur to The Girl. Thus, she's clearly at one of those Piaget stages of development where she can't yet fully "take the role of the other".

Dad-ness: A student stops by my office to ask some questions. Being near summer, I'm wearing walking shorts. I cross my legs, happen to glance down -- and notice dried snot matted into my leg hairs (near my calf).

The boys were crawling around on my lap this morning, before I left for work: must've happened then.

A sign of being a dad, I supposed: dried snot on your clothes (and on your person).


Friday, October 24, 2008

Band name generator

Link sent to me by Old Roommate: a band name generator.

Basically, when you go to the website, it randomly connects words to generate a short list of potential band names.

When I visited the site, I got:

1. Aroused Axis
2. City Eternity
3. Glue Gonad
4. Conforming Moment Of The Demented Playground
5. Gaussian Riot
6. Ivori Salad
7. Strawberry Bush
8. Nauseous Of The Pumping
9. Sixth Daughter
10. Jaded Dent

Pretty good, actually. Some are usable right off the bat (e.g. "Gaussian Riot", "Ivory Salad", "Sixth Daughter"), and some would work with some minor tweaking (e.g. I'd change it to "Blue Gonad" and "Pumping of the Nauseous").

They also have an option where you can enter a key word, around which the potential band names are assembled. When I entered ''green'', I got:

1. Green Clerk
2. Green Of The Degrading
3. Green Father
4. Fifth Green
5. Pure Green And The Kind Monitor
6. Absolute Green And The Mental Potion
7. Parental Green
8. Green Of The Impotent
9. Slapping Green
10. Green Of The Chief



Thursday, October 23, 2008

Nifty technology

Earlier this week I was at in a part of town I don't usually get to, so I stopped in at this ''weird technology'' shop called Jaycar Electronics (they also have an online shop), to pick up a Christmas gift for my sister, as well as a gift for her boyfriend.

Just as I was about to purchase my two items, I saw that they had a ''clearance items'' table -- so of course, I took a look.

Found this thing (pictured). Basically, a Swiss Army knife with a USB flashdrive!!!

How... cool... is... that...??? :)

I probably would've just admired it, but not bought it, if it was still at the original price of AU$31.46. But! it was marked down to ten bucks, Australian (about six-fifty, American).


The various ''blades'' and components are:
  1. USB flashdrive
  2. Small retractable pen
  3. White LED light
  4. Small knife
  5. Small Phillips screwdriver + wire stripper(?) + small bottlecap opener(?)
  6. Small scissors
  7. Nail file + small flatblade screwdriver(?)

Below is a photo that shows off the built-in LED light a bit more clearly.

The model is the "KnifeMemory K200". According to a quick Google search, there's also the "K100" version, which doesn't have the weird ''wire stripper''(?) blade.

And, both the K100 and the K200 come in a model with an ''A'' suffix -- which stands for ''Airport'' -- because there are no blades, just the LED light and the USB flashdrive. (Modern times...)

The USB flashdrive is only 128MB (nominal; actual size is 124MB) -- whereas I don't think you can buy a USB key now-a-days that's less than 2GB. But, the size is hardly the point: it's a pocket knife with a USB key, dangit!!! :)

Good stuff. :)


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Good nostalgia

Good nostalgia: sound of a dial-up modem connecting.

(Found via Wil Wheaton's blog.)


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Teeny little PC

Saw this briefly on the news. Invented in Australia!!!

However, when I tracked down the details, I was a bit dissapointed: I thought it was the Mac Mini, to the ultimate extreme: a teeny low-wattage PC, with just enough ports for your keyboard, monitor, mouse, and etc.

Turns out it's a thin client (I'd missed the first part of the news story). Which means all the software you run (word processing, web browser, e-mail...) is on your home server.

Still, has potential: US$99.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Yeah, that's about right

From the somewhat dark, but usually amusing online comic strip, Pictures for Sad Children. I found it particularly seasonal.

If the text is too small to read, you may have to click on the comic to hugenate.

The original, within the context of the strip's web page, can be found here. If you do end up taking a look at the strip's web page (good stuff!!!), do note that each comic has a ''mouse-over'', whereby you hover the mouse pointer over the strip and a ''bonus'' punchline shows up.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Good article re: miscarriage and friend

Good article on what to say/not say to someone who's had a miscarriage.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

A kb of prevention is worth a MB of cure

To my dear readers,

I just received an e-mail from a student that had lost all her/his assessments (for all of her/his courses), due to a hard drive crash.

A sad story -- but avoidable.

As soon as you can $$$ afford it -- please promise that you'll do the following for me:

1) Buy an external (USB) hard drive, and once a week back up to it. Otherwise, keep it unplugged (to protect it from power surges!), and hidden (e.g. behind some books on the bookshelf), to minimize the risk of it getting lost in a burglary.

2) Buy another external HD and once a month back up to it. Keep it "off site" (e.g. at a relative's house, in the closet). (A good technique is to swap the two external HDs -- so, once a month bring your "weekly" HD to your relative's, and take the "monthly" HD home with you; the two HDs have now traded roles.)

3) At the end of each "session" (i.e. when you turn off the computer for the night), back up your projects to your USB key! I tend to name them with the date (e.g. "_2008_1014a") at the end, so I **know** which one is the newest version! If you do several versions on the same day, call them "a" "b" "c", etc. This is also good if your file somehow gets corrupted...

(If you can't afford #1 and #2, but you have a DVD burner -- do that (i.e. write to a DVD-R)! Or, get a 4GB or 8GB USB key...)


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Styrofoam plate speaker

Pretty nifty! I can see Guitar Cousin of Four-Tower doing this.

MacGyver-ing a functioning, pretty good sounding, loudspeaker with just a few simple parts (two business cards, a sheet of typing paper, a small magnet, a glue gun...)

Hm: The youtube video doesn't seem to want to embed. Well, try this link, then.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Presidential race

This year's Presidential election is very historic: a Scottish guy versus an Irish guy -- John McCain and Barack O'Bama.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Pilot safety

For a few years, my dad held a private pilot's license. One of the protocols when flying a small plane (the propeller-driven ones, at least) is that, prior to firing up the engine, you open the window and yell "Clear!", just to ensure that no one's loitering near the propeller.

For a while it was a bit of a family in-joke: my dad would roll down the window and yell "Clear!" before starting the car. A few months ago, I decided to continue this tradition.

So, the last few weeks, I've tried to remember to roll down the window and (somewhat quietly) yell "Clear!" when I start the car.

The last two weeks, when The Girl in the car with me, she's yelled "W!" before I yell "Clear!" When I asked her why "W", I couldn't get a good answer -- except that girls yell "W" and boys yell "Clear".

Not sure where she got that from.

When I start the car without yelling "Clear!", she reminds me to do it. ("You need to say 'Clear!', Daddy..")


Monday, October 06, 2008

Geek hip-hop

Wikipedia is a funny thing: you can end up far from home, without intending to.

While I was waiting for my day's Dissertation work to back up, I thought I'd take a quick look at Wikipedia to see which Weird Al Yankovic albums I was missing (and if he'd done one since Straight Outta Lynnwood). That took me to a cameo he'd done in a documentary called Nerdcore -- which led me to the entry on nerdcore as a music genre.

Apparently, there's a burgeoning sub-genre of hip-hop called ''nerdcore'' -- where the lyrical content tends toward geeky stuff like computer programming and Dungeons and Dragons and science fiction (and etc.). MC Lars is one of the more recent guys (I have one of his albums; good stuff!). Apparently MC Frontalot is one of the earlier guys, including coining the term.

One of the tendencies of nerdcore is to self-release your songs (often for free) on your own website, rather than being on an actual label.

As an example: a guy named Monzy is working on a Ph.D. in Computer Science, and has a rap about it (most of which I don't understand). He has an ongoing rivalry with another nerdcore rapper called MC Plus+ (which is actually a pretty clever rap name for a computer dude).

According to the Wikipedia "nerdcore" article, there is even a sub-genre called ''geeksta rap'' -- a play on the term ''gangsta rap'' -- where instead of bragging about their money, cars, toughness and guns, they brag about their coding powress and their bleeding-edge hardware.

Oh... my...


Sunday, October 05, 2008


Wil Wheaton, in a recent blog entry, notes that most geeky-types know off the top of their head what super-power they'd want.

Me: Maybe this is bending the rules, in that it's more of a ''multi-power'', but I'd want "green power."

It's based on a super-hero I dreamed up when I was in high school (or college?):
  • Cover yourself in a green energy glow
  • Can convert yourself into this green energy (but still retain your regular shape) to become intangible, and thus essentially invulnerable
  • Can fly, if ''greened-up''
  • Can shoot green energy blasts
  • Can heal people (including yourself), with the green life-energy (a bit like using chi, I suppose)
  • If needed, can temporarily convert other people into the green energy, if you're in a situation where you need to (for example) rescue people by passing them through a wall
  • Can use the green-force to sense the inherent goodness or evil-ness in people (i.e. are they just being stupid; or are they horrible, nasty people)
  • Can use the green-force to bring out the good in people
  • The green-force gives an awareness of when people are in distress and in need of help

So, multi-faceted -- but still coherently themed. :)


Saturday, October 04, 2008

Closet goth

There's a quasi-goth band called Sisters of Mercy (they claim to not be Goth; but they have a lot of Goth fans; and they often play at Gothy-type festivals). Apparently, I have all of their albums -- not because they're Goth, but just because a lot of their songs are good.

On an unrelated note, I just found out that Huey Lewis and the News sued Ray Parker, Jr. over the song ''Ghostbusters''. Apparently, the song has the same riff as ''I Want a New Drug''.


Friday, October 03, 2008

Do **not** mess with the data!!!

Found this by accident, while looking for some U.S. Census 2000 stats on family structure in the U.S.

From the Wikipedia article on the 2000 U.S. Census:

Another issue that concerned gay rights advocates involved the automatic changing of data during the tabulation process. This automatic software data compiling method, called allocation, was designed to counteract mistakes and discrepancies in returned questionnaires. Forms that were filled out by two same-sex persons who checked the "Husband/wife" relationship box were treated by the Census computers as a discrepancy. The Census Bureau explained that same-sex "Husband/wife" data samples were changed to "unmarried partner" by computer processing methods in 99% of the cases. In the remaining 1%, computer systems used one of two possibilities: a) one of the two listed sexes was changed, making the partnership appear heterosexual, or b) if the two partners were more than 15 years apart in age, they might have been reassigned into a familial parent/child relationship.[12] The process of automatic reassignment of same-sex marriage data was initiated so that the Census Bureau would not contravene the Defense of Marriage Act passed in 1996. The Act states:

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife.

With allocation moving married same-sex couples to the unmarried partner category, statisticians lost any data that could have been extracted relating to the social stability of a same gender couple who identify themselves as married.

Gaahhhhh!!!! To change the raw data from a survey is such a cardinal sin in the world of social science research!!! If someone writes down ''Jedi'' for ''Religion'' -- gosh darn it, you record ''Jedi''. If, for the ''Race/Ethnicity'' question, someone writes down ''I'm a moose'' -- gosh darn it, you record ''Moose'' as their race!

Sure, you can clean it up in later stages -- but to nuke the original information such that it's **wrong**...??? GAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You're supposed to keep the original, ''real'' data -- and if you're worried about the same-sex ''married'' couples messing up your results... you just do the runs for ''Married'' couples, but throw in a ''IF'' statement that excludes all instances where the two partners are of the same sex. Easy.

And then, in the percentage table (when you write up your results), you include a footnote stating that "Same-sex couples who self-identified as 'Married' were excluded from this analysis.'' Ayep.

(I know why they had to do it: political/funding reasons. But it still stinks.)


Thursday, October 02, 2008


I was at the sink in the main bathroom, and The Girl had just got off the toilet. She was saying something about my having “paye” in the toilet. I could **not** understand what she was trying to say: “pain”? “pigs”?

Finally, she tore a tiny piece of toilet paper off the roll, held it up to my pants leg, and said “Paye – they stick to your pants.”

Ahhhh!!! Cobblers pegs!!! (See photo.) They’re like dandelion puffs, but stiffer – and instead of the “poof” at the end, they have little hooks – so when you brush against them as you walk by, they stick to your socks and pants, and you have to sit there and pick them off. Annoying little things.

And the other day I’d been picking them off my socks, and tossing them in the toilet.

I thought it was pretty innovative of her to use the speck of toilet paper as a visual aid.


(Image from

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Quarts and litres

How did it happen that two-litre bottles of pop became the standard in the U.S. -- but the standard for milk is still a gallon?