Archive: February 10, 2009

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jury duty hell

Tuesday,  02/10/09  10:56 AM

I have been summoned for grand jury duty and unlike all other such summons in my experience, have actually been called up.  I am sitting in a jury holding area in Superior Court in downtown Los Angeles for what could be a two-week stint.  I had hoped I could disqualify myself by admitting to be a geek and if pressed would volunteer that I voted for McCain, but it hasn't worked; so far nobody has even talked to me.  I am just sitting here with 300 other people awaiting further instructions.

I brought my laptop in the hope I could at least work while sitting around, but it is a tough slog.  My fellow jurors are determined to be a distraction, conversing loudly with each other and on their cellphones, and multiple televisions are playing CNN full blast.  I have fought back gamely by listening to Michael Schenker on headphones, but it has only been partially successful.  Concentration is tough to maintain in this environment.

I know I should relish performing my civic duty, but I can't help regarding this as a colossal waste of time.  Blech.


Tuesday,  02/10/09  08:36 PM

Whew, survived day one of jury duty, didn't get called into a courtroom, just spent the day working on my laptop in the jury holding area.  So be it.  All the way home as I was fighting traffic I was thinking of Sting's Synchronicity II ("many miles away there's a shadow on the doorstep of a cottage on the shore of a dark Scottish Lake" :)  But then I got home, gleefully changed, and took off on a tough 30 miler (I call it Malibu CC, because it goes by the Malibu Country Club): from my house, down around Westlake, up Decker (!), down Mulholland (admire the sunset over the ocean :), up Encinal Canyon (!), back across Mulholland, back down Decker, and finally up Westlake and home.  And so now I am tired and happy.  And blogging.

Well that didn't take long: the Financial Times asks Has Barack Obama's Presidency already failed?  Of course it hasn't failed yet, but the course it has set seems confused at beast, and downright wrong at worst.  The spendulous bill's press has been pretty negative, and the markets are not happy about it. 

Wow, good luck: Zumbox creates an all-digital alternative to the U.S. Postal Service.  "Westlake Village, Calif.-based Zumbox lets you send or receive scanned, physical representations of letters, bills or other things you might normally send via paper mail. You can log into your mailbox at the Zumbox site and then receive digital delivery of your mail."  Way back in the dawn of time, 1999, I worked with a startup called CyberBills that had exactly this approach to online bill payment.  They scanned all your bills and made them available online.  It sounded great, but it didn't take.  I suspect Zumbox will suffer the same fate... 

Wow, check this out: the 1938 Phantom Corsair.  How awesome! 

Facebook adds "Like".  So be it.  I'm finding myself on Facebook more and more often.  Almost without realizing it, visiting it has become part of my daily routine.  I guess I like Facebook :) 

This is classic: Give Up and Use Tables.  "We’ve scientifically determined the maximum amount of time that you should need to make a layout work in CSS: it’s 47 minutes."  This is so true; back in the day, I was a wizard at crafting virtually any layout with tables, it was quick and easy, and could be done "by hand".  Now that we have CSS, it is slower and harder, and you need all sorts of tools.  Clearly a violation of W=UH.  [ via Daring Fireball ] 

ZooBorn of the day: a baby Duiker.  Shy creatures that prefer to stay in the brush, duiker are small antelope from Sub-Saharan Africa.  And they are cute...




Tuesday,  02/10/09  09:16 PM

In case you're wondering, this is what I saw from Mulholland tonight:

(please click to enbiggen amazingly)

These pictures were taken about 15 seconds apart while the sun was setting,
note the incredible change in light during that time.


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