"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Scary Bad

Via http://timrileylive.wordpress.com/2008/09/27/715/...

A Space Black Out

"When NASA's last scheduled Space Shuttle mission lands in June of
2010, the United States will not have the capability to get astronauts
into space again until the scheduled launch of the new Orion
spacecraft in 2015. Over those five years, the U.S. manned space
program will be relying heavily on Russia and its Baikonur Cosmodrome
facility in Kazakhstan."


Really? Wow.

The Ties That Bind

"Nancy Pfotenhauer, a senior economic adviser to McCain, has been all
over the airwaves in recent days touting McCain's decision to
"suspend" his campaign over the bailout. But her husband, Kurt
Pfotenhauer, worked until late last year as the top lobbyist for the
Mortgage Bankers Association, a trade group that in recent years
downplayed fears of a housing bubble, only to be proved spectacularly


You Said How Much?

Paul Newman

Gone. Damn.

My boyhood movie heros were Paul Newman and Steve McQueen.

They were the epitome of cool, and always will be for me.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Query Replace

Maybe emacs users should do more to promote it. Emacs has a reputation of being overwhelming. But we don't promote emacs enough. There are great reasons to learn and use it. I don't think emacs is difficult to learn, there is a great help system and an interactive tutorial to begin.

Emacs does have a ton of functionality. A co-worker asked me about the enormity of the emacs key sequences, not to mention the number of functions that can be run by name. I've used emacs for 27 years, so I'm not the one to speculate on the effort to learn it.

But one thing to remember is that across all the different editing "modes" (for editing this language or that one, or text, or email, or file systems, or what have you) most of the commands are the same and others simply apply the same concept to a specific mode. e.g. what does it mean to go forward and backward by a word or a sentence or an expression or function definition?

See an emacs command summary. I could not quote a lot of these for you without acting out the sequences with my hands. Emacs is now in my physical hand memory.

My favorite emacs function may be "query replace". This function at first may seem not unlike any kind of interactive find-and-replace dialog on a Mac or Windows.

But query replace (found on the meta-percent key combination for those following along at home) is enormously rich. First, query replace will attempt to preserve case in the replaced text. e.g. if you replace "foo" with "bar" and the function encounters "FOO" then you have the option of replacing it with "BAR" and if it encounters "Foo" then the replacement will be "Bar".

What if you want to replace a found match but then edit that particular match slightly differenty before continuing on? (Otherwise you have to remember to go back, and where to go back to, to edit that specific replacement. And what if there are several variations?)

In this case when prompted for a replacement, type control-r for a "recusrive edit". Now you are in a position to edit that specific replacement before continuing with the search for the next match. If you want to do the replace and then review the replaced text before continuing with the next match, do this: type comma "," to do the replace but remain at that spot. You can type control-r to recursively edit the replaced text or do the usual to continue on.

control-meta-c escapes the recursive edit and continues with the search.

What if you made a mistake with the previous match? Either you should have made the replacement and didn't, or you should not have made the replacement. Type "^" and query replace takes you back to the location of the previous match with the text in the state as you left it.

Enough already. Emacs is one helluva tool. There may be other tools with just as broad and deep an array of functions. If you don't have one already, give emacs a try.

Vote No

I'm not sure everyone deserves to stay in their homes under all
circumstances, but that's not the real problem by and large.

The real problem is the so called "bail out" - just look at the wolves
lining up for a piece of the action. Look at the terms and conditions.


That's reason enough to say "no, thanks".

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Decentralize Now

Peter Saint-Andre...

"Radical decentralization has got to be a big part of any solution to
what ails America, and busting up the country into its 50 constituent
states would be a step in the right direction"


I'm for it - with one exception - the state boundaries are artificial.
We have states and cities bordering each other on rivers. The lines
should be drawn around a more natural "bio-region" as they say.

For example the right size for where I live would be the Columbia
River Watershed.

Radical decentralization would be the best move this country could
make. All the more reason it will never happen, in this cynic's

Fiasco on the Grandest of Scales

Steve Dekorte...

"Frankly, I'm amazed there aren't (yet) riots in the streets. These public purchases of overpriced assets are a transference of wealth from the poor and middle class to the wealthy on the grandest of scales. Apparently "liquidity" means the ability of the wealthy to unload their bad investments on the public.

The most absurd result of all this is the blame being placed on the "free market" when it is exactly the lack of a free market in currency (via handing a monopoly on currency that caused credit bubble."


Me here...

People generally are disconnected from Washington DC, or even their state and local governments. At least locally they see levies and propositions on an understandable level: do they want to spend $X on the fire department or a library.

At the national level, I've been surprised for years that we're willing to just spend incredible amounts of money on the aftermath of a war that had always been based on documented lies.

This current fiasco is just more of the numbingly same. Paulson - "Give me $700B on the condition that you must have no oversight into how that money is spent."

Oh, did you know that's the condition? That's spelled out literally in the proposal. I will never vote for any of my representatives who back such legislation.

Folks - at least fellow citizens of the USA - we are being *taken to the cleaners* on this. This is a *fiasco* of the grandest of scales. Look around at who's already lined up to get their piece of the action. There is no way this much money can be put on the table without a lot of shady behavior.

In this case enough of the shenanigans are taking place right out in the open to cause riots in the streets.

As for whether a purely free market could do better - I'm not the expert. I'm skeptical there could be such a thing as a "purely free market". It's a system, and people work the system for their own goals. Sometimes those goals are admirable. Most often not.

The term "free market" is used by most politicians and financiers as rhetoric to get what they want, for themselves and their cronies. Period. That's human nature.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

OTBC's New Home

This is a good move... it puts the Open Technology Business Center
right on the Max line. The old home was a couple miles and a bad bus
ride off the Max line.


Maybe they'll have some events to draw me back - I went to an open
house and then never found my way back mostly because of the
inconvenience of the location.


Spotted in Portland: Clearwire WiMax Trucks

WiMax is being rolled out now in Portland, supposedly. Here's a sighting...


As I wrote previously, I've used the service in Seattle, and I like
it. The Seattle service is, or at least has been, slightly under full
WiMax. And apparently the throughput for an individual is dependent on
who's using it nearby, etc.

Still this is convenient, relatively cheap, relatively fast, wireless
anywhere in the city.

Poor Geneva

From The Loughran-Guijarro Scale of system failure...

"7. Loss of small city few people care about. this is why CERN is in Geneva."


Poor Geneva.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Treasure Alright

Paul Krugman:

"Treasury needs to explain why this is supposed to work — not try
to panic Congress into giving it a blank check. Otherwise, no deal."


You can bet there are a number of people figuring to make a pile of
money on this eventually. Some people will be figuring just how they
escape this, under the radar, with their large salaries and bonuses
intact. Others see an opportunity to come back around later and scoop
up assets out of the government's hands like the Oklahoma Land Rush
all over again. But just the valuable assets. The government gets to
keep the busted assets for sure.

Fortunes may be stashed for a while, but they will be enhanced and
made on this fiasco. Little will trickle down to anyone not already in
the game.

That's the only thing my pea brain can fathom in all this.

What This Is Not

"This is not a spending program," Paulson said.


Well, as long as we're clear on that point.

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About Me

Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.