Megnut

Archive for December 2003

Happy December 1st

I had a nice Thanksgiving message written and then my browser crashed right before I had to head off for my vacation. So hopefully Thanksgiving went well for you and yours, and now Happy December 1st! That exclamation point is rather forced, I'm afraid to admit. Where has the year gone? And how is it winter all of the sudden and time for Christmas? Oy. That's really about all I've got to say. Oy.

It's flu time

With the temperature suddenly 21° (with a 9° wind chill) in New York City, those who haven't succumbed yet to the flu could well be on the verge, including me. Here's some good information from the CDC, Influenza: The Disease. Of course, the most troubling bit was this, "A person can spread the flu starting one day before he or she feels sick." It might be too late for us all!

Sendmail for Dummies

I just installed this neato Sendmail Enabler for OS X (but not Panther, for Panther you need Postfix Enabler) to fix some mail problems I was having. This enabler is a one-click app to launch and configure sendmail. So far, it's great and easy.

Weblogs *are* ruining Google

Doing some stuff in Eclipse this afternoon I thought, "I'd really like a text wrap plugin for Eclipse" so I go to Google and type in "Eclipse plugin text wrap" and this megnut post -- of me wishing for a text wrap plugin -- is the first result. Doh!

Let it snow let it snow, er wait

snow!6 - 11 inches of snow is forecast for New York City in the next three days. I can see snow already falling outside my window here at work, and this is what's predicted for tomorrow:

Snow along with gusty winds at times. Cold. Temps nearly steady in the low 30s. Winds NNE at 20 to 30 mph. Snow accumulating 4 to 7 inches.

Yikes! Tomorrow morning is my NYRR Hot Chocolate 15K, which I'm really looking forward to. Hopefully it won't be too snowy to run, and then after it's over, I can come home and get in my cozy bed and read all afternoon as it snows heavily outside.

Update: totally weird. Exactly a year ago it was snowing as well, and I was excited and posting about it. And a year ago, Gina posted a picture of snow outside her window at work. It's starting to look like that outside our window here at work, a year later. Does this simultaneous anniversary snowstorm mean that we'll have another snowy winter? Or are we experiencing some strange Groundhog Day (the movie, not the Day) experience?

Snow running success!

Just like the Postal Service, neither wind nor snow stopped me, David, and Alaina from running this morning's Hot Chocolate 15k. Designated a "fun run" by the NY Road Runners, it wasn't timed, and the distance was reduced to 6 miles. But it was fun. Not only are we crazy enough to run in a blizzard, David was crazy enough to moblog the event!

Our time? 1:04.38, not too shabby with all the snow on the ground and wind in the air. And at that speed, there was lot of opportunity for gabbing along the course. And of course, our fearless supporters Anil and Jason were there to cheer us along. Meanwhile, unless it stopped snowing while I was sleeping (which I doubt), it's been snowing since ~11AM yesterday, which means we're into our 30th hour of snow! But I think I'm done being out and about in it. From now on it's all BB&B -- baths (hot), bed, and books.

Update: one final photo snapped by Anil that I call Triumph!, aka Us at the finish.

XHTML and the script tag

So for some odd reason, my alpha Kinja design that was visible in IE, Camino, Firebird, and Safari on IE and Mac suddenly stopped rendering on IE/Mac, IE/Windows, and Safari/Mac (didn't test the others, was too busy freaking out). I tried everything I could think of, validated the code (clean XHMTL 1.0 Strict), validated the CSS, had some friends take a look, and nothing. "View source" showed code, but nothing appeared on screen. Finally, after commenting out code line by line, I nailed it. In my header, I had:

<script src="http://megnut.com/functions.js" type="text/javascript" />

While the validator liked this, and Camino had no problem, the other browers barfed big time and treated it as an unclosed tag, rendering nothing more. A quick change to:

<script src="http://megnut.com/functions.js" type="text/javascript"></script>

and all is right with the world again. I write this because I'm sure I'll have this problem again, and then Google will help me (hi idiot Meg from the future making the same mistakes again!) In the meantime, it may help you.

Humor alert

The other day, I wrote a post saying weblogs are ruining Google. I hate to do this, I hate to explain a joke, but it seems there's been too much confusion. No, weblogs are not ruining Google. I was kidding because, see, this is what people do: they search for something on Google, a weblog is one of top responses, and then they piss and moan about weblogs ruining Google, etc. Do I need to resort to writing "J/K" next to all silly posts?

The other funny thing -- at least to me -- is that both times I used the expression "text wrap" in my query, rather than the more common "word wrap." So it extra made sense that Google would return my post to me. And funnier still was the fact that I'd forgotten I'd already looked for a text wrap plugin for Eclipse months ago. So you see the levels of humor here? Did you ever suspect megnut posts had so much depth to them?

More on XHTML

Following yesterday's post about XHTML validation and the script tag (which I assumed to be a browser problem, not a code problem) I got an email from megnut reader Maurice saying,

Script element should always have an end tag and really can't be considered a singular or "empty" type tag like, say, the Image tag or something. I guess it must be a minor glitch in the validator or something.

Since that didn't sound right to me, I decided to go to the source: XHTML 1.0 The Extensible HyperText Markup Language, Section 4.3: For non-empty elements, end tags are required. It says,

4.3. In SGML-based HTML 4 certain elements were permitted to omit the end tag; with the elements that followed implying closure. XML does not allow end tags to be omitted. All elements other than those declared in the DTD as EMPTY must have an end tag. Elements that are declared in the DTD as EMPTY can have an end tag or can use empty element shorthand

So I examine the DTD and see that <script> does not contain EMPTY, which would support Maurice's assertions that the code was in fact, not valid, and there was a glitch in the validator. But then I looked at the definition for <p> and it doesn't contain EMPTY either. But you can use <p /> instead of <p></p>. Or at least, I thought you could. Plus it seems weird since a <script> in reality can be empty, like in my example when it's linked to an external file. So why's the DTD saying it can't be? Anyone actually understand what's going on here?

From the archive

While poking around looking at other stuff, I stumbled across these old photos from the Pyra webcam back in the day. You can see pb and Matt Haughey on what was apparently Matt's first day at Pyra. Looks like he didn't get much work done. I like finding these remnants of that time.

The reason I write megnut

Earlier today, I happened upon old posts (never published) about Parisian restaurants. I decide to publish them, for no reason. My friend Alaina reads them and thinks, "Meg will like this Parisian food weblog. I will email it to her." She does. I read the email and then load up Chocolate & Zucchini in my browser. I am instantly in love, even before I see the entry for Oeuf Cocotte. I am now anxiously awaiting the time to read all the archives, and even more anxiously awaiting my (currently unscheduled) return to Paris. I've got a serious Paris jones. I've got a serious Chocolate & Zucchini crush.

Update!! Chocolate & Zucchini author Clotilde is a software engineer! But wants to leave it all behind for a cooking a career. She's my French twin!

Found France

I was doing a little cleaning on my computer and I came across some restaurant reviews I wrote when I was in Paris in November 2002. In case you'll be heading over there sometime soon, I repost them for you. And for myself, since they bring back such nice memories for me. Apparently it's "Reminisces and Nostalgia" week at megnut.

Les 3
3, rue Saint Croix de la Bretonnerie (Marais)
Paris, 75004

Another amazing dinner at Les 3 around the corner from our house. This place was recommended by Gil, who's a chef and whose apartment we're renting. He was not wrong about this place. More au current than Le Colimaçon and similar to something one would find in San Francisco, the food was spectacular. I started with a cream of chestnut soup, accompanied by a slice of fois gras on toast (YUM!) and then had rouget in a sauce of some sort and a side of potatoes gratinee. Wow. So good....chestnuts are my new favorite thing. I'm going to buy a little bag of roasted ones to try out soon from the guys that sell them on the corner. Was going to today in the cold rain but forgot. Will report on how they taste soon. Expect most reports from France to be about food and nothing else. Musee d'Orsay was good, but you would have expected that.

Ginette de la Côte d'Azur
101, rue Caulaincourt (Montmartre)
75018, Paris

Very nice lunch in a stylish café in Montmartre. While the entrees (English entrees) were fairly expensive, and much more than we wanted to spend for lunch, the salads and omelettes were priced more reasonably and were delicious. I had an omelette provençcal which was filled with wonderful cooked veggies like red peppers, eggplant, and zucchini. It was served with some nice red leaf lettuce dressed lightly in a simple vinaigrette. A glass of red wine bouch du Rhône accompanied. 21.30 euros for two.

Red Sox and emotion

Fellow NY resident -- but like me, of solid New England stock -- Lockhart Steele has a great post on the Red Sox, baseball, and The Business of Emotion. Talking about the likely trades of Sox Manny Ramierez and Nomar Garciaparra, Lock asks, "is the core of sports fandom rooting for favorite players, or the team?"

For my own part, it's team first. I'll always be a Sox fan. When one of my teams trades a player I'm not crazy about (e.g. Celtics unloading lazy Antoine Walker to the Mavs), I'm extra pleased with the team. And I have to say, I wouldn't be too sad to see Ramierez traded for A-Rod. But Nomar? Oy, now that's a tough one, because I really like Nomar. Then my thinking gets all player-centric and I wonder, couldn't he just play third instead?

Amazon wish list mysteries

I checked my Amazon wish list the other day and discovered that lots of items have been purchased but I haven't received them. Have they been sent to me? Or have people ordered items for themselves off my wish list? Who knows?

While I love the wish list feature, I wish it worked better. Whenever an item is ordered from my wish list, whether it's sent to me or to someone else, it's flagged as purchased, meaning that to future list browsers it looks like I've already received it. But in some cases, I haven't. So I have to delete the item from my wish list and add it again so that it won't appear purchased.

Problem #2 is Amazon's privacy policy, which is so strict that I cannot get any information about these purchases, not even vague info like, "did the items get shipped to any of the addresses associated with my account?" So now I don't know if a) someone sent me something that never arrived, or b) bought something for his/herself off my list. While I understand the need for a stern policy, it seems a bit extreme.

I would like to see Amazon re-evaluate the wish list feature (and privacy policy) with some additional scenarios:

In the first instance, it would be nice if the item didn't get flagged as purchased. The "stranger" instance is trickier. It appears that Amazon assumes a certain level of communication between giver and receiver, so that if a gift is sent but not acknowledged, the giver will be alerted that something is amiss and can rectify the situation. But in the 21st century gift economy/weblog world, that's not always the situation. Someone who I don't know could very well send me something. I, not knowing to expect a gift, do nothing when I don't receive it. The giver, hearing nothing from me in response (either through email or via a message on my site), assumes I'm a total ingrate jerk face, turns bitter, and stops reading my site. But I'm not an ingrate jerk face! I don't want to be an ingrate jerk face!

So to get to the bottom of this mystery the only way I know how, here's a list of the MIA wish list items:


If you bought any of the following items for me (and it wasn't really recent as a Christmas present that maybe just hasn't arrived), could you please contact Amazon and tell them the package never arrived? And let me know as well. Thanks.

Kinja System Administrator

Update: As of Feb 01, 2004 this position is filled.

Are you a great sys admin? Are you looking for a new job to start the new year off right? We're looking for a kick-ass sys admin here at Kinja. Feel free to pass on the job listing to anyone you think might be interested.