Archive for December 2012

December Hodge-Podge   2 comments

It’s OK boys…I’ll use the sink downstairs.
It's OK, Boys...
Technically, this picture was taken in November, but it was after that month’s Hodge-Podge was published. It was too cute not to include.

I transcribed an extended passage from “Feathered Dinosaurs Drive Creationists Crazy,” that didn’t make it into the “Quotes from my Journal (Part Four)” post. It needed context to make full sense (or at least having read the article first).

After rebuilding it many, many times, my mixer finally died.
Fixing the Mixer

One more photo from the Indianapolis Zoo: they have chargers for plug in cars.
Electric Car Charging Station

My iPad stand can also double as a copy holder…how many kids remember that old tech?
Typing Stand

Followup: As a result of the Terms of Service controversy, Instagram has lost 25% of its daily users.

For Christmas, my wife got me a pair of patches from the Clouded Leopard Project. One is now attached to my camera bag.
New #CloudedLeopard for my camera bag. My wife rocks!

Posted 2012-12-31 by Mr. Guilt in Hodge-Podge

Quotes from My Journal (Part Four)   3 comments

Journal and Parker 75This, the latest round up of quotes copied into my journal, covers roughly half of my new journal, which is a MIO Campus notebook, in use since September.

Kittens rarely have an exit strategy.”–Laurie Cinotto, Itty Bitty Kitty Committee

“An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk in order to spend time with his fools.”–Ernest Hemingway

Knowing that even dauntingly complex challenges can be broken down–that there’s a huge difference between not understanding something and not understanding something yet–is powerful mojo.“–Adam Savage, Wired, November 2012

“It [the Rotis typeface] looks best on gravestones…”–Erik Spiek­er­mann, “Is Rotis a Typeface?

Rule number whatever–never go to a good restaurant with people you love to be with because the food ends up barely tasted.“–Jonathan Carroll (@jscarroll)

“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”–Thomas Jefferson

“My domestic housecats are a bunch of quirky weirdos. No way I’d trust a big cat.”–Commenter on

“To respond is positive, to react is negative.”–Zig Zigler

“Collaboration is not a management thing. … Everyone has a role in defining whether collaborations happen or not. But history has shown that the most critical part of a collaboration are the individuals doing the work.”–Steven Sinofsky, former Microsoft executive.

Posted 2012-12-30 by Mr. Guilt in Quotes from My Journal

Luna and the Printer   1 comment

Posted 2012-12-27 by Mr. Guilt in cats, Family, felis silvestris catus, Luna

Enjoying the Fire   3 comments

About once every three years, the stars align, and we light a fire in our fireplace. Too often, it’s not cold enough to merit it, or too cold, or we’re in too late to want to stay up and watch the fire. However, we had our act together tonight.
Roaring Fire

Beso and Luna were fascinated by it.
Feline Silloette

Beso Watches the Fire

S’mores were made for the humans.
Roasting a Marshmellow

The Christmas Snow Leopard came. This year, they got collars, as their old ones were getting somewhat stringy. We like to Beastie Bands, from Confetti Cats. Beso got a monochrome tiger print (NOT white tiger print)
Beso Shows Off His New Collar

Luna, the hacker ninja princess, got a purple one with unicorns.
Luna Curls on the Dream Curl

Eddy got a red collar titled “crazy cat.”
Eddy's New Collar

It made for a pleasant Christmas Eve!
Luna Watches the Fire 1

Stretching by the Fire

*Last year, we bought plush mice from the Snow Leopard Trust. The mice are doing OK, and I was able to make a contribution through my company. They are a great organization, who have figured out the best way to both protect these beautiful cats while meeting the needs of the people who share that land.

Festival of Lights 2012   Leave a comment

It’s an annual tradition at the Cincinnati Zoo: the Festival of Lights. The zoo stays open late, with hundreds of LEDs strung throughout the zoo.
Tree on the Lake (Red)

Obviously, a yuletide theme was used on many of the lights.
Santa Lights

Of course, some were suggesting warmer climates.
Flamingo Lights

Being dark and after their typical hours, many animals weren’t out. However, the polar bear seemed quite appropriate to say “hi” to.
Polar Bear

Apparently, the Cincinnati Zoo is one of the places a team of reindeer hang out. Will they be there tonight?
(Not So) Tiny Reindeer

Elephant House
The iconic Elephant House at night.

The turtles weren’t out, but they were represented in lights…
Turtle Lights

…and in bronze.
Caitlin on the Turtle

The cougar brothers were being quite active, and had quite the crowd. It was difficult to get a good photo of them. Still, it was neat to see them romp and tackle each other, much like Eddy and Beso.
Cougar in the Moonlight

Cat Canyon, where snow leopards Renji and Nubo are, was closed. Perhaps they were busy helping the Christmas Snow Leopard?
Snow Leopard Lights

Inside the Night Hunters building, however, the pallas cat kept watch. They look warm and fuzzy.
Fuzzy Cat

Most cats were asleep, including the clouded leopard…
Cloudie Dreams

…and the black footed cat.
Black-Footed Nap

Even Miss Lop-Ears the caracal was sleeping. Can you find her?
Where's the Caracal?

However, Mama Fishing cat was up and active.
(Grand)Mother Fishing Cat

Good to see her up and about.
Stalking Fishing Cat

The fennec foxes kept watch as well.
Watching Fennec Fox

It was a great night to go to the zoo.
Nutcracker Rhino

ISP Down   2 comments

I’m writing at about 9 AM on Sunday, December 23. I’m in a terminal window running EMACS. Why, aside from the fact that I’m kinda old school and EMACS rocks? Our internet has been down for the last two-and-a-half days. Our Internet Service Provider (ISP) uses a technology called Broadband Over Powerlines (BPL) to act as the “last mile” into our house. Our service comes via the power lines in our house. A special model receives the signal, then, using an ethernet cable, it goes to my wireless access point, which all my various devices use.

On Thursday night, there was a car accident, which caused a fire that burned for about two hours, melting fibre which served their network. My heart goes out to the family that was involved in that crash. However, they’ve had to bring in some new fibre. There are 288 strands of fibre in the run that was impacted, and each strand has to be individual matched and fused. As you can imagine, this is a painstaking task. The last update I had said that it would be back up later today (once I get to post this, I’ll update when it comes back). However, that makes it down over sixty hours. In my day job, this would be absolutely unacceptable.

I’ve always had support concerns around this ISP. Their hours of support are nine to nine. Usually, the person who answers the phone is someone who can help with billing issues, rather than technical ones. It remains unclear to me if their network is monitored: will they react soon after an outage, or do they have to wait for someone to phone in an issue?

My big concern is how they simply are not prepared for this sort of situation. As I mentioned, the last mile for my internet is via the power line, so the fibre is presumably taking the signal to a gateway that converts it to something usable on the power lines. However, it appears to run in overhead lines, so it is vulnerable not only to a car fire, but also a tree, high winds, or other threads. Why is this path not both diverse and redundant? Given that it is all data, why do they have no capability to route signal for my connection to me through some other path? There are many ways they could avoid this situation.

Customer service has said that we will likely get our bill reduced by a prorated amount, reflecting the outage we experienced. This would likely be $5-10 per subscriber impacted. This is inadequate two ways. First, I do not feel this will make me whole. We have had to incurr additional expenses due to our lack of internet, ranging from increase used of our bandwidth allotment from our cell phones (both in use of the SmartPhone, as well as tethering to work laptops), trips to free WiFi sites like Starbucks, or delaying things such as holiday shopping. Further, the amount, while likley somewhat painful, is likely inadequate to incite improving their resiliance. It is cheaper to pay this once in a while than invest in secondary paths, or technology to route around issue. The customers are left wanting.

Unforutnatley, at this time, I have few options. I will not go with Time-Warner, given that I feel corporations that generate content lack the neutrality necessary for me to get good service. The DSL service on my street is very slow. I have spoken with a business contact about the phone company’s fibre optic service, but that is likley at least months away. I will be with this company for at least the foreseeable future.

Fifteen years ago, when broadband was entering a lot of whomes, it was a geeky novelty. However, as we have entered the second decade of the twenty-first century, it has become a key part of many American households. We use it instead of newspapers, to shop, and in a million and one other ways. It is no longer acceptable to expect users to simply accept an outage of more than a few hours.

UPDATE: I got a phone call at around two PM on my cell phone saying our connection was back up. This was confirmed at around four, when I got back home.

Posted 2012-12-23 by Mr. Guilt in computers, Internet, rant

More Time with Birdie   Leave a comment

This time Luna joins the fun.

Posted 2012-12-21 by Mr. Guilt in Beso, cats, Family, felis silvestris catus, Luna

Have You Gotten Your ISEC Calendar Yet?   1 comment

Mine arrived yesterday. There are some really awesome photos in it. You can get your copy here!

ISEC Calender

Posted 2012-12-19 by Mr. Guilt in cats, feline conservation

Goodbye, Instagram   3 comments

Instagram does not claim ownership of any Content that you post on or through the Service. Instead, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service
The New Instagram Terms of Service

As you may have heard, Instagram has changed their Terms of Service (ToS). This is viewed as part of their being purchased by Facebook. The ToS present several things which give privacy advocate concern, as well as allow for the inclusion of ads. The challenge of social media is figuring out how to generate revenue. These are common elements, and you have to weigh this against the utility or enjoyment you get from the respective sites.

However, this language suggests they could sell my work without my permission, or even notification. In contrast, Flickr allows photos to be published under a Creative Commons, allowing me control over who uses my photos. The only way to opt-out is to cancel your account by January 16.

Instragram posted a reply, which is still vague. Both the Verge and Slate both made posts that interpret the language more narrowly, and that may be appropriate. Still, it’s a bit disconcerting.

I’ve decided to leave Instagram. Wired has instructions on how to download your photos and leave. My plan is to kill my account on January 13, to give me time to repoint some photos on this blog away from Instagram.

I’ll still post photos here, on twitter, and Flickr. Look for me there! And let me know where you are moving your photos, too.

UPDATE (12/24/2012): Instagram reverted to their original Terms of Service. I feel that, when a service listens to their userbase and changes direction–especially as major a change (or non changing) as this, they should be given a chance. To do otherwise would discourage such behavior. I’m going to keep using the service, but will be in a position to pull the plug a little more quickly. I had already rehosted all the pictures, and repointed all my blog posts to the new site (a good evening’s work).

If Flickr pulls something like this, I’m good and truly screwed.

Posted 2012-12-18 by Mr. Guilt in computers, Internet, rant

College Graduation Anniversary   Leave a comment

Diploma & TassleTwenty years ago today, December 18, 1992, I graduated from Miami University. I received a Bachelor of the Arts in Political Science–great training for a job in information technology.

I completed a semester early, hence the winter graduation. It wasn’t too long before then that I started dating the woman who would become my wife.

It’s hard to believe it was that long ago. So much seems to have changed, and yet, it doesn’t feel that long ago.

Posted 2012-12-18 by Mr. Guilt in

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