SUMMITLAKE SITE MOVE

You’re reading this on our new home server at web host ICDSOFT. We’re moved on  from our old home of 17 years.

Friday November 4, 2015

  • Most core Perl and PHP scripts are working.
  • Automated scripts up update site stats: in progress
  • Counts since 1999 are accurate, currently still being maintained manually.
  • New posts are working.

Wednesday November 25:

  • Got yesterday’s day of week right on entry title 🙂
  • Got the core site stats PHP code working on the sidebar (top)
  • Perl and PHP date-time functions work differently on this system. Look at the sidebar dates under SITE STATS. Sidebar displays are not being refreshed daily yet as there is a date dependency to get yesterday’s data. Currently working on that.
  • Have a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!

Tuesday November 24:

  • Links to summitlake.com are working on this site. It may take longer at your ISP.
  • RSS has been disabled on the server. We we getting hundreds of thousands of RSS requests, which is the normal equivalent of one year’s page visits. Cause: undetermined.
  • ICDSOFT tech departments have been very helpful.  Their guaranteed 15-minute response time is real. Their responses are proactive, clearly and professionally explained, and very specific: all recommendations have worked on the first try.
  • By my count, this is my fifth site move, migration and conversion since 1995, including 12 years at the previous web host. There are always some problems and anomalies to work out, but so far I’m very pleased to be hosted by this provider.
  • We’ll continue to update this page as we test and bring utility features online. See below fortemporary caveats.
  • Department Links Now Work (Astronomy, Commentary, Computers … WRITING). We had a problem with this big “multi-site”Wordpress installation that I solved by “Upgrade Network.”
  • Sidebar Perl/PHP widgets will remain inop for a week or so as we bring the code online and reconfigure as needed.

As of Nov23 345PM PST, this front HOME page loads, but links (still pointing to the transferring domain) do not work.

There will be site disruptions and inoperative features as we bring the new site live. Although the transition has been relatively seamless so far, sidebar PHP widgets are going to be inoperative until we get the new PHP and Perl hit counters working again.

Thanks to you all for your support and readership over the years, and may we enjoy many more!

Alex

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Gun-Free Zones

I got into a social media thread where some folks vented their outrage by the recent news that the University of California Berkeley declared itself a gun-free zone, effective immediately. My reply:

You’re always welcome in my home, but it isn’t a gun-free zone for me, only for you – because I own it and you are free to go elsewhere if you don’t like the house rules.

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Supreme Court: Same-Sex Marriage a Right

I never thought I’d live long enough to see this hoped-for day. Congratulations to all American couples who finally won legal recognition for a universally cherished legal and moral right. Summitlake.com has argued for same-sex equality from 1995 until the recent time where we were just one more small voice in a national “yea” for equality for all.

Not to quibble excessively about something we’d looked forward to for half a century, but there was something disturbing about the 5-4 split on the court.

As reported in the New York Times analysis:

Chief Justice Roberts wrote. “Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.”

We’re left with a stronger impression that marriage – any marriage, heterosexual or same-sex – is deemed a privilege granted by the States, not a right. We urge fellow Americans to consider that if a “right” can be imperially granted, a broad swath of individual rights not explicitly enumerated in our great Constitution may be deemed “privilege” that can be taken away. We (all Americans) must defeat the notion that rights can be compromised under the uncertainty and inequity of popular or regional votes.

news photo:

Same-Sex Marriage a Right - SCOTUS

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Bird Feeder

BIRD FEEDER: Heavy rains coming. Took the feeder off the top of the porch table and put it underneath, providing a “roof” to keep the feeder and seed dry. The little birds figured it out in a couple of hours. The big birds never figured out how to get seed out of the little feeder slots, but the little birds are messy eaters, so the big birds got fat on the spillage. Today, I watched a puzzled big bird, perched on the rim of the bottom tray that holds the spilled seed. He was staring right at the relocated feeder. He couldn’t figure out what had happened. “DUUHHH, where did the food go, George, where did it go?”

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Charlie Hebdo

The terrorists who assassinated staff at the offices of the satirical Parisian magazine “Charlie Hebdo” also attempted a hostage situation at a kosher supermarket outside Paris, where they were shot dead by police within the last few hours.

Much attention has rightly been paid to the acts of terror themselves, and to the increasing threat to free speech in Europe and beyond, and to the absolute necessity of fighting by whatever means, if necessary, to preserve that right. But there is a finer shade of question to these awful events, France’s “911,” which as yet has received scant examination.

We must ask ourselves what we might expect if a satirical cartoon “intended to highlight public issues” ridiculed and disgraced the Christian Jesus with a humiliating and mildly pornographic image. In some parts of Europe and America, the lynch mobs would be still be assembling. It’s not a question of free speech – of course we are free to speak plainly in the western world – it’s a question of matching the message to the issues. While I admire Charlie Hebdo’s courage in the abstract, their implementation was very junior-high-school and puerile. It was a gratuitous slap in the face to the majority of 1.6 billion Muslims in the world who live in peace for much the same values as we do. None of this in any way mitigates or ameliorates the terrorist attack of Charlie Hebdo offices, and I am glad those terrorists were shot dead. But it is worth thinking about.

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New Posts for 2015

It’s not a full-fledged “new year’s resolution,” but I neglected this site in December, with only two posts – an all time low, I believe, since 1995. I can do better!

I had cataract surgery in November, the fastest and safest procedure in the world. All went well, but any such procedure seems to take the wind out of my sails. I pampered myself, slept outrageously (but it was glorious), and re-thought how I’d been pursuing a massive Perl project I’ve had on my mind for some years. You know what that means!

430PM Update: new Quotes database installed. Links updated!

It involves our venerable “Quotes” database, accessed from the front page of this site for years. I don’t have a counter on it, so I have no idea who else uses it, but I use it all the time. With about 6,000 quotations amassed over the decades, the database has only one keyword field.

Take this quote, for example:

Bumper sticker seen on "Support our Teachers" auto: 
"Why is money always available for war, not for education?" 
Our guess: there's four whole syllables in 'education', 
only one in 'war'.

With only one keyword, I’d assigned the keyword “war.” Should that have been “teachers?” Or “education?” Why not all three?

No, no, the NEW quotations database and app is not available yet. It will be, much sooner than I’d expected:

A former manager used to tell us, Simplicity comes at the end, not the beginning.”

I rewrote all the Perl code and supporting libraries in connection with the project, in addition to adding four keyword fields. I created two new apps for my own use, Entry and Update (so I can add keywords, among other reasons). The first two months of coding were a minefield of unsatisfactory trials, mistakes, and “almost pretty good” results. I took the core program apart and worked on each piece again, then put them all back together. Voila, mon ami!

So it took about 2-3/4 months to work up the three prototype apps that finally worked perfectly. And then, only an hour or so each to convert them to “production” apps. That’s “portable!” You should see the new Quotations database version 81 in a few days.

In the meantime, as if this makes up for December’s lapse, I’ve today posted a new photo by my friend Swan, and a short personal recollection of a remarkable candlelight dinner in the Mojave Desert. You can see the short excerpts and links to the post pages below.

May 2015 bring happiness, laughter and friendship your way!

Alex

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“The Interview” and Hacking of Sony

We’re getting a little tired of reading harebrained opinions by pundits and experts about Sony’s decision to yank its movie “The Interview” after Sony was hacked, apparently by the petulant North Korean regime.

1) It’s Sony’s movie. There is no “right to be shown a movie.”

2) By all accounts this was a B-grade comedy with very little artistry or other redeeming merit. There are very few right-to-free-speech issues here.

3) The movie is Sony property and Sony’s decision to run it or not, not the media’s, and not the so-called cybersecurity experts’.

4) If Sony decided to run the movie anyway, and even one of 18,000+ theater outlets had been victimized by a terrorism bombing attack, the media and the public wouldn’t be screaming “capitulation,” they’d be screaming for Sony’s head on a platter for risking public safety by inviting a terrorist response.

5) The only appropriate response to North Korea is beyond Sony’s expertise, and hopefully Anonymous is working on that now.

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Respect the Office

I had lunch with a very old friend earlier this week. He is an old-school (1960’s) conservative. I mentioned how the media, including a channel he watches, savages the President with smears and lies. His answer surprised me. He said: “I don’t care WHAT party a person is from, the President of the United States is OUR PRESIDENT and he should be treated with respect, dammit!”

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Legacy HTML in Menus

I was looking for an old article called “Talking Crow” today, and, horrors! Our tried and true old HTML file listing, called by a PHP include, didn’t work!

I rarely if ever write new content in HTML, so I hard-coded a current cgi autolisting and put it into a WordPress page.

You can find it in the main Menu above here, and in Computers, La Parola, Outdoors and Writing. It’s a static page, so it’s fast.

The listings represent the best gems of ten years of writing for our old HTML website. You’ll also find embedded listings for Recipes and Humor, which are currently linked in our menus.

Cheers,

~~ Alex

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Taking Back the ‘Redskins’ label

Patent office cancels Redskins trademarks

NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
The U.S. Patent Office has canceled trademarks belonging to the Redskins football team, saying they are offensive to Native Americans.

“‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'”

Might we fancy ‘Redskin’ as a neutral or even positive label just because we always have? Think about history. We can recall usage as defamatory pejoratives, in funny popular songs like “Please Mr. Custer,” as stereotyping generalization, and as an epithet. We can’t recall one case where a speaker used the word in high praise and tribute. In America, we’ve already “taken back” the N word, G word, Q word and many others. I say, time for Native Americans to “take back” the R word.

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Good show, America, what’s happening to us?

Recommended reading, from Bill Moyers:

Study: Politically Engaged Liberals and Conservatives Don’t Want to Be Neighbors

Me: Well now, there we have it, don’t we?

We invite our neighbors belonging to the “other” Party over for drinks and BBQ, and we smile sweetly and thank them ever SO much for coming, just as if they were “real” human beings. And then we trot down to the polls and vote to expropriate their property, curb their speech, deny them civil rights and liberties, jail them on trumped-up charges in Soviet-style courts, steal their privacy, and then we scratch our heads and wonder why we all demonize each other. Good show, America, what’s happening to us?

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DIY Health Examinations

My TV happened to be tuned to a medical discussion show. I caught a panelist who appeared to be arguing that women performing their own breast self-examination is over-rated. His reasoning seemed to be that if everything appears to be fine, it inspires overconfidence, so people won’t go to the doctor.

I took flying lessons in the 1970’s. Preparing for a short training hop in a twin-engine Cessna from Hayward, CA, local weather was lousy. My flight instructor and I phoned Oakland Air Traffic Control with our instrument flight plan, and we asked about Oakland field weather there. The controller replied that their airport was operating under Visual Flight Rules, visibility two miles, ceiling 1000 feet.

We asked if he’d looked out the window lately. “Just a minute,” he told us. On returning, he replied, “I’ll be damned. It’s raining!”

Looking at the night sky with binoculars is not the same thing as the Hubble Space Telescope. Self-examination is not the same thing as an MRI scan or a visit to Mayo or Johns Hopkins. But nobody argues you shouldn’t look out the window when you can just get the weather from Channel 5 meteorologists.

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The Release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

As widely reported, in the Washington Post and elsewhere, a number of Republicans went on record today as saying, in so many words, that we should have kept the five Taliban detainees and let our American sergeant rot in hell, because it was a bad trade. You and I should take careful note of just how much they value young American lives. Your son or daughter, under different circumstances, could have been held hostage there.

Irrespective of partisan politics, any way you cut it, there is no logical way out of the conclusion that they value their five prisoners more than one American life. That’s an inescapable, irrefutable fact, no matter what else they throw at this contrived controversy.

As for the tired old charge that these five Guantanamo detainees, who were never charged with anything, will “come back” to kill Americans, we are leaving Afghanistan anyway. If the Republicans think five more Taliban are going to tilt the balance, their water is runnier than they’re admitting.

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Driverless Cars: Who Gets the Ticket?

Slashdot reports: “Driverless Cars Could Cripple Law Enforcement Budgets.” If a car can drive itself 700,000 miles without a ticket, some fear this lucrative government revenue source could dry up. But, if a car DOES get a ticket. who should pay it? Some say the human operator should pay it. Google says the company that made the car should pay it, since automated systems should not fail.

Nonsense. Ask the commanders and crew of the Apollo missions. My reply:

Google is wrong. In matters of collision avoidance, safe navigation and busting regulations, one human is always designated as captain of the ship, pilot in command, or driver of the car. He or she is responsible for monitoring even the most highly automated systems, and for overriding them if necessary. Saying the company manufacturing the vehicle should get the speeding ticket is like saying Smith and Wesson should do the time in homicide convictions.

 

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Net Neutrality in a Nutshell

The problem here, in the EFF’s eyes, isn’t so much dedicated broadband for streaming providers, as the FCC itself …

Read on the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) website:

Net Neutrality in a Nutshell

Also, organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) have a more fundamental problem with the Net neutrality proposed policy, since the EFF just doesn’t trust the FCC at all: “Historically, the FCC has sometimes shown more concern for the demands of corporate lobbyists and ‘public decency’ advocates than it has for individual civil liberties.”

Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Ecommerce Times
Related Issues:

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“Bacon, Bacon”

I just saw on the “Check, Please” restaurant rating show that my San Francisco Bay Area now boasts a gourmet food truck service. An oxymoron? Sometimes referred to colloquially as “puke trucks,” the ubiquitous snack wagons that traditionally show up in warehouse districts and corporation parks have always been known for convenience, but never for fine foods.

Well, “Bacon, Bacon” trucks sport a limited variety of truly gourmet grilled burgers and sandwiches. They’re all made on the spot of the finest, freshest gourmet ingredients. They’re all “heart attack on a bun” fare – they’re made with bacon of course.

The bacon Burger (Two patties, bacon, sautéed onions, cheddar) looks gorgeous. But my favorite would be the LGBT (Little gem lettuce, goat cheese, bacon, tomato), which is a BLT to die for. You can always eat salad for the rest of the week.

If you’re not located in the San Francisco Bay Area, eat your heart out. I wouldn’t be too surprised, though, if they make it to your neck of the woods in good time. I predict they’ll be very successful.

Check it out:

Bacon, Bacon website.

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