I sent a package recently from where I live (California) to my uncle (Michigan). It’s interesting to see how the package traveled by USPS Ground:
2/13/2004 11:57:00 AM DELIVERY PONTIAC, MI US
2/13/2004 8:59:00 AM OUT FOR DELIVERY PONTIAC, MI US
2/13/2004 8:58:00 AM ARRIVAL SCAN PONTIAC, MI US
2/13/2004 1:59:00 AM DEPARTURE SCAN MAUMEE, OH US
2/12/2004 9:36:00 PM ARRIVAL SCAN MAUMEE, OH US
2/12/2004 4:33:00 PM DEPARTURE SCAN HODGKINS, IN US
2/12/2004 4:12:00 PM ARRIVAL SCAN HODGKINS, IN US
2/12/2004 3:03:00 PM DEPARTURE SCAN HODGKINS, IL US
2/11/2004 6:38:00 PM LOCATION SCAN HODGKINS, IL US
2/11/2004 12:43:00 AM ARRIVAL SCAN HODGKINS, IL US
2/6/2004 9:58:00 PM DEPARTURE SCAN SUNNYVALE, CA US
2/6/2004 7:56:00 PM BILLING INFORMATION RECEIVED US
2/6/2004 7:01:00 PM ORIGIN SCAN SUNNYVALE, CA US
The interesting part is, where was it from the 6th to the 11th? An untrackable part of nowhere America?
Last Friday I took a trip with a bunch of other Microsofties to the MSN data center in San Jose to see the Hotmail server farm. After you pass the biometric security (hand scanners) and go up the stairs to reach the raised floors, it’s a site to be seen. Servers as far as you can see in either direction. If you’ve ever wondered what the sound of X billion emails, it sounds a lot like a jet engine. The main mail clusters are housed in two long corridors with the backs of the computers pointing at each other with a walk way in the middle. You stand there and it feels like you’re in the middle of a Santa Ana wind: hot and dry air coming at you. Along side the mail servers are the uncountable number of web servers (front doors in MSN parlance), which go on for rack after rack after rack. It’s really quite something. Aparently, the data center has over 11 megawatts of backup power available to it. That really doesn’t mean anything until you learn that 1 megawatt is enough to power 10,000 homes, thus the facility could run 110,000 homes by itself (think Sunnyvale + Cupertino combined).
I finished Angels & Demons by Dan Brown, same author as The Da Vinci Code. Nothing much to write, same ol’ same ol’. Religious cults, fast paced action, well researched and a fun read of pop-fiction. That’s about it. Good book to read if you want something fun. Now, back to Malcom X.
Hiked the Franciscan Loop Trail with Ami today. It’s up on top of Page Mill Road in Palo Alto, about 7 miles past the 280 and about 2000 feet high. The trail is one of a few at the Los Trancos Open Space Preserve, which was quite beautiful. We saw a couple of bluejays as well as some nice scenery. This and other pictures from the day.
Indians are crazy: “Hindu nationalists who claim they are fighting against Western cultural influence have threatened to shave young lovers’ heads and beat them if they exchange Valentine’s Day cards and gifts. “
Windows source code leaked: “The leaked code includes 30,915 files and was apparently removed from a Linux computer used by Mainsoft for development purposes. Dated July 25, 2000, the source code represents Windows 2000 Service Pack 1.”
I got to see Dave Winer speak at in Redmond this previous Monday. It was more of a discussion or forum than it was a talk. Dave spoke perhaps for 15 minutes on the pervasivness of blogging and the effect it had on the Dean campaign and then opened the floor up to dicsussion and questions regarding blogging. I should probably mention that Dave is the creator of RSS, a co-creator of SOAP and Userland. Some interesting things that came up were an unnecessarly long and annoying dicussion comparing blogging to SharePoint (what’d you expect at a Microsoft event?), an interesting perspective on how blogs will compliment main stream media, and I think the best definition of blogging I’ve heard yet: blogs are the unedited voice of the author.
Every time I come to Microsoft’s Redmond Campus, I remember that I’m a tool in this gigantic machine. When I arrived at my hotel, nearly every car in the four hotel cluster was an Avis rental (the offical car company of the country of Microsoft). When I left the hotel this morning, not only was I able to get a map to the campus from the reciptionist, he asked me which building I was looking for and highlighted the way there. I followed the car with the license plate 838-MSN. It’s amazing, as it is a bit demented, that this whole city is really geared towards this one company. I’m in the Microsoft Conference Center in building 33, where earlier I was in RedWest A, C and D, which are all a small slice of a 50 some building campus. I’m not sure if I’m amazed or afraid by the size and pervasiveness of this orginization.
There are some very, incredibly, scary people who run for President every four years. I’d like to highlight one of these for you, Al Hamburg. Al is a 68 year old Independent who is divorced and has 9 children. He was educated at the fine institution of “Self-educated by reading” and had a professional career as a Sergeant in the Army. While liberal on some issues (supports first term abortions and advocates gun control) his oddities come into play when we begin to look at his policies on imigration and and drugs (which to him are hand in hand). To quote: “Stop the illegal alien and dope invasions from Mexico – Pull troops out of Korea, put them on US/Mexico border.” So, in 2004, who are you voting for? Not for Al Hamburg!
I started and finished The Da Vinci Code on Sunday. Ami picked it up at Bookstar on Sunday in San Diego and I snatched it from her and was half way through by the time I touched down in San Jose, finishing it around 2:30AM. For all the hype and attention (not to mention its ubquitoy), it was just another pop-fiction book with good research behind it. The writing style was a cut above John Grisham, but nothing particularly intelligent and is a good page turning thriller (and very movie-screen adaptable).
The basic premise behind the story is the curator of the Louvre is murdered, which unravels a plot for the search of the Holy Grail. It’s written in a very odd way of having very small quasi-cliffhanger chapters, somewhere up in the 90s. The book followed up to my reading of Peter Paul Reid’s The Templars nicely since both of the books provide two different theories of roughly the same times, namly the creation and purpoe of the Templars. An overall “good” book, in so far as much as it was very interesting and for those readers without the historial background will likely expose them to an exciting and facinating alternate story of the history behind the Roman Catholic Church.
My friend Jason implemented a new command in the Hotmail backend. The “G” command, which does nothing other than:
> telnet aaa.bbb.ccc.ddd
< G G G G G-UNIT!!!
> Connection to host lost.