Monday, April 30, 2007

Day By Day

Day By Day is a painfully unfunny, Republican comic strip that finds most of its audience on the Web. Various corners of BlogWorld have started a contest for the best cartoon remixed to resemble one of these atrocities.

I, of course, feel that to do it true justice, the cartoon should be in its original form, with Day By Day dialogue pasted in. So voila - this makes as much sense as the average Day By Day (click for full size):

UPDATE: A second one.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Wrestling SharePoint to the ground

I am doing a little programming project at work this week, and it involves the convoluted SharePoint APIs. (CAML? Why, oh why?) Instead of messing with an actual live server at work, I decided to set up a staging site.

My first choice was a test hosting account with Apptix. They sell full hosting for $40/month, with a trial month free. I dropped by, set up a site, and tried to program against it.

Oops. I tried to talk to the site via Web service in VB.NET, but I don't have the permissions to reach the site programmatically. So I decided to set up SharePoint at home. (I have a server at home that runs Windows Server 2003 and is attached to the Internets.)

Sounds easy, but I spent a day fighting SharePoint to the death, finally emerging victorious. For whatever reason, every roadblock that could've appeared did appear, and very little of it has been clearly documented online. Maybe some of this information will help future generations.

First off, I made sure that WS2K3 was patched and updated. I also put the .NET Framework 3.0 on it, as a prerequisite of running SharePoint 3.0.

Next, I downloaded and installed Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. The installation choked. It had a problem accessing a database called MSSQL$Microsoft##SSEE. Great. I went into Add/Remove Programs and tried a second time, and this time it completed successfully. I still had to run the configuration wizard to get things set up.

Uh oh. Same problem. The wizard went part of the way through and said something about the MSSQL$Microsoft##SSEE database again. It told me to disable the FrontPage server extensions. Why would they interfere with a database though?

I went into the ISAPI extensions and disabled FrontPage extensions. I tried the wizard again, and again I got the same problem. Maybe it was missing a DLL? I uninstalled 3.0, and installed Windows SharePoint Services 2.0. Then I immediately installed 3.0 as an upgrade instead of as a fresh install. No dice. Same problems.

I rolled back 3.0, and got back to 2.0. I repaired its installation just to be sure. Everything went fine. But then I clicked the administration link, and it went to fpadmdll.dll - and gave me a 404. The DLL was obviously where it should've been. But why was SharePoint still calling a FrontPage DLL after I'd disabled the extensions?

It took me a minute to find out where the actual installation point was for the FrontPage server extensions. They're hidden like a coin in a King Cake. You have to go to Control Panel. Then into Add/Remove Programs. Then to Add/Remove Windows Components to get to the Windows Components Wizard. Then you have to choose Application Server and click Details. THEN you have to choose IIS and click Details again. Finally, the list of IIS components appears, one of them being FrontPage 2002 Server Extensions, 14.1 MB. I uninstalled it and got out of Control Panel. Suddenly, everything worked. THIS is why you listen to the weak error messages, people.

I thought I was finished, anyway. I clicked on a link in the administration screen, and I got a message "There is not enough space on the disk." Every administrative task I tried gave me the same message. I had 22.4 GB on the drive!

This one was easier to nail down. I went to File Explorer, right-clicked on the C: drive, and checked Quotas. Sure enough, they were turned on. I turned them off (for now), and the last error messages went away.

So I did it. I wrestled SharePoint to the ground. I haven't upgraded back to 3.0 yet, but 2.0 is running great, under 384 KB of memory. And I finally have a test server I can program against, as well as a message board for the whole family. Life is good - or at least better than it is for the smoking monkey.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

"And would you like the curly chest hairs with that?"

Mulligatawny Soup ------------------------------------------- $3.95
Masculine Salad ---------------------------------------------- $4.95

Friday, April 20, 2007

Respecting our flag

In the comments on a previous post, someone allegedly named Anonymous said:

Don't you think it's disrespectful to our country for the person singing the Anthem to wear a jersey saying "Beat X" where X is the opponent, and then for the team to flash said jersey on the scoreboard, thus encouraging more disrespect?

You are correct, "Anonymous." I certainly do think it was disrespectful to show the "Beat Buffalo" lettering on her jersey while she was singing the anthem. It was a sign that the person running the scoreboard was trying to get the crowd going, rather than showing our nation's anthem the respect it deserves. In their defense, however, it was a matchup between two American teams, so there was no opportunity to show a bear crapping on a Canadian flag, as is the Coliseum tradition during the singing of "O Canada."

It also defiles the Islanders uniform to put extra lettering on it. However, when someone wears a Rangers jersey that spells "CRACKHEAD" down the front instead of "RANGERS", that's comedy gold.

What would I do if I were running the scoreboard? I would put together a montage of patriotic scenes that all Americans could be justly proud of. It would start with an American flag flapping in a light breeze. It would then dissolve to home-movie-quality footage of a toddler wiping his butt with a roll of Bin Laden toilet paper. Then a few more flags. Then it would switch to a naked, blind, 70-year-old man chained to a cage in Guantanamo, with dogs snarling at him. A couple more flags, a still shot of Bush falling off a Segway, and then the grand finale. Finish it off with an outline of Iran that turns into a mushroom cloud, and then morphs into a shot of some shirtless fat guys in the crowd, with American flags painted onto their hops-and-barley-bloated guts. Superimpose some fireworks over that, and you've got yourself an anthem.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Can't let go on Leggo

Last night, the Islanders scored to tie the Sabres with about a minute and a half left in the game. The referee, Mike Leggo, waved the goal off. He said that Ryan Miller was pushed in after making the save. (Untrue.) He also said he had meant to blow the whistle to stop the play because he lost sight of the puck. (Great. Maybe he can give some penalties out for hitting after the whistle, because he TOTALLY meant to blow the play dead but forgot.) He told the Islanders that the decision would be made by Toronto. Toronto said that the refs on the ice made the decision. None of the stories match up, but the fact is that Leggo made an awful call, on a clear goal, and then came up with 100 CYA explanations.

I did a bit of searching to see what Leggo's history in the NHL was, and it turns out that he has a proud string of really crappy, game-changing calls (and non-calls) to his name over the past few years. Why this ref is in the NHL, much less in the playoffs, is frankly baffling. And this was just on the first couple of pages of searches.

Buffalo gets benefit of Leggo blown calls vs. Rangers, day after Leggo screws up video replay, Nov 2006

But it's hard enough to have to face a team that good -- to have to face them on a second straight night of horrendous officiating that mostly went in their favor proved to be impossible. The litany of officiating errors in this game was legion, and all but one or two were by Mike Leggo, the referee who didn't see Cullen's goal the night before in Pittsburgh and failed to allow sufficient time for video review to correct his oversight (he had a different partner last night).

Leggo's errors in this game actually began with a bad call against Buffalo -- the double minor to Chris Drury for bloodying Adam Hall's nose with his stick was on the followthrough of playing a puck, which is not supposed to be a penalty. Leggo, as you an see from the replay, could not see the original impact through several bodies and made a late call only when he saw Hall on the ice.

The three calls that gave Buffalo a five on three for two minutes were all made by Leggo, and they were all correct (although he allowed Jason Ward to be crosschecked from behind when he cleared the puck over the glass for a delay of game call), but from there on everything went against the Rangers -- actually, some calls had already gone against the Rangers when Maxim Afinogenov was allowed to pick off Straka in his end of the ice and then get a call on Petr Prucha on a dive at the other end of the ice.

The absolute worst was when Jaromir Jagr was tackled right in front of Leggo, with no possible excuse for not seeing the penalty (which was actually the second against Jagr on the play after earlier obstruction). But it was not all -- Matt Cullen was tripped in Leggo's end of the ice with no call, even though the other referee had a line of sight as well; Straka was tripped on a possible breakaway with no call by the other referee; and Brendan Shanahan was obstructed off the deciding face-off as he tried to get to the point to defend against the shot that Drury deflected home for the game winner.

Leggo gets confused by loud noise, waves off tying goal, Mar 2003

Selanne's back-hander rolled over the shoulder of Dallas goalie Marty Turco and into the net as the final 10th of a second ran off and the horn sounded.

The goal was waved off originally by referee Mike Leggo, and after nearly 5 minutes of video replay, the call stood to the disappointment of most of the 17,496 fans.

"I thought it didn't cross the line before I heard the horn," Leggo said.

Selanne was already in midcelebration before he heard Leggo's ruling. After seeing several replays and getting the support of the fans, Selanne was steaming about the final decision.

"This is a joke," Selanne said. "Thank god this game didn't mean anything. But this is the NHL, they should at least get it right."

Leggo blows high-sticked goal, Avs vs. Wings, Jan 2007

Except for the goaltending of Jose Theodore, who started for the first time in a month, the margin of defeat could have been far worse, but Quenneville's ire was directed at referees Don Koharski and Mike Leggo.

Quenneville was upset when a goal by Tomas Holmstrom with 5: 58 to play in the third period was allowed to stand after lengthy video reviews by NHL officials in Toronto.

The goal, which gave the Red Wings a 2-0 lead, was produced when Holmstrom lifted his stick to swat the rebound of defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom's shot.

The play was reviewed to determine whether Holmstrom knocked the puck in with a high stick, but the replays were inconclusive.

Leggo allows kicked/high-sticked goal to stand, May 2006

The Oilers scored at very controversial goal at 16:07, with Hemsky kicking the puck in the net following what should've been a high-stick on Horcoff. On the play, Horcoff had his stick above his head and redirected a point shot at Legace. Mike Leggo and Mick McGeough blew the call, as it was pretty obvious Horcoff tipped the puck with a high-stick. McGeough was the closest on the play. Legace attempted to cover the rebound off the Horcoff re-direct, but couldn't get his glove on it.

Leggo's quick whistle negates goal, Mar 2003

Defenseman Brian Leetch had 10 of New York's 41 shots andthought he scored the tying goal with 10:19 left in the third period when he jammed a rebound through Luongo's pads. But aquick whistle by referee Mike Leggo negated the goal.

"He blew the whistle and you have to accept it," Rangers coachGlen Sather said.

"He lost sight of the puck and blew the whistle and it was atough break for us," Leetch added.

Canucks goal called off by Leggo "royal screw job", Jan 2006

Mike Leggo waved it off; said he lost sight of the puck. Fair enough, all he had to do was put the matter in the hands of the replay official. Nope, he wouldn’t do that either.

For the second time in the game, officials altered the course of the game with a whistle.

“They didn’t give us [an explaination],” said a stoic Marc Crawford. “They were adamant about it. They thought they had blown the whistle. But it’s his call to make, not mine.”

It was, as they say, a royal screw job worthy of its own castle.

Seriously, what's the problem with YouTube?

I would assume that YouTube has a server farm running. (Duh.) But why did they not actually make it WORK before releasing it to the public?

I posted a video yesterday, showing instant replay of a disputed goal call. After I posted it, it said it was processing the video. Fine. I understand. Then it came up with a link to the new video page. Great. Lookin' awesome.

I went to that page, and YouTube told me it didn't exist.

I went to my user page, and YouTube didn't list the video I had just uploaded.

It finally loaded a couple hours later, and when I went to the page it told me there were seven views.

I viewed it from three different machines, anonymously, and it still told me there were seven views.

Last night, I received email telling me that people had posted comments on the video. I went to the video, and it said "7 views, 0 comments."

This morning, I got email FOUR times telling me that there were new comments on the video. The first time I checked, I was told "112 views, 0 comments." I checked three more times, and each time I was told "112 views, 0 comments."

I just checked again. Now it's showing "112 views, 2 comments." Underneath this note, three comments are visible.

The email told me there were comments from users named Jaycwik, ethermp, Ajarzian, kindup2, and Bneezy. On the page, there are comments from Jaycwik, Titan124, and ethermp.

Oops, I just refreshed the page. Now there are "112 views, 2 comments," but six comments underneath.

Here, let me hit F5...and what the hell! Now it says "112 views, 2 comments," but it's back to showing three comments.

How can this site be such a buggy piece of squiggle? If Microsoft put out something this obviously, slap-in-the-face broken, you'd never hear the end of it. Why is Google, who now owns YouTube, getting the benefit of the doubt with broken software like this?

UPDATE (9:55 AM): Now it shows "247 views, 6 comments," with three comments showing underneath. It jumped from 112 to 247, and now it can't find all the comments.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Into the Coliseum

I took my daughter to the Isles playoff game last night. It was a pretty good game, although the Isles lost because of the refs. There was some extra-classy behavior going on in the stands too.

They led off with the standard "history of the Isles" video clips, and included Dubie's poke check as the last historic moment. They also had a montage of clips from the late playoff run, which was prefaced with a prediction from ESPN that they would finish 30th out of 30, and the now-famous quote from Sam Rosen that the Isles were eliminated: "They can't make it."

Before the game, they announced a moment of silence for the shooting victims in Blacksburg. The crowd stood in respectful silence, but 20 seconds in it was pierced by a single drunken moron in or around Section 335 yelling "THE RANGERS SUCK COCK!"

After that laff-fest, a young lady came on to sing the National Anthem. She was wearing an Isles jersey. Halfway through the anthem, the scoreboard switched to a shot of the back of her jersey, where it said "Beat Buffalo." The crowd started to cheer and yell through the rest of the anthem. I may be the only one to feel this way, but I find it to be disrespectful to our country to cheer during the anthem. I've taught my kids to stand at attention, hands by their side or on their heart, facing the flag. After the singer says "...braaaave" you can start cheering. Whether they should be playing anthems at sporting events is another story (they don't play them at movies!), but as long as they are playing it you need to treat it with respect.

There was no scoring in the first period, even though the Isles had a slight edge in play. They hit the Buffalo goalie in the face twice with shots, and coach Lindy Ruff actually said they thought the Isles were headhunting. Here's the problem: if you could shoot that accurately, why not put it into the net instead of into the face?

After the period, the line for the men's room snaked all the way to Freeport. As one Buffalo fan said, "You're kidding me. There are only four cans in this place?" Playoff crowds are always nice in the Coliseum, because you get that nice "fire code violation" feeling when you try to wedge your way over to the pretzel stand.

The real action started in the second period, as Buffalo was awarded a goal despite no red light, no goal motion by the ref, and no replay that provided a view of the puck clearly over the line. We sat there for minute after minute as Toronto tried to figure out what had happened.

Bizarrely, the Coliseum didn't show any replays at all. During the wait, they showed bouncing Buffalo and New York pucks dancing around a Stanley Cup. Calling it a goal got the crowd ornery. It only got worse when the Isles drew six minutes of penalties on a single play. The call that put the Isles down 5-on-3 was just inexcusable. Buffalo scored on the two-man advantage, and that was that.

This gives us a chance to nutshell the problem with the league today. Campoli can bear-hug a Sabre in the crease and smash him down to the ground. That's OK. But when a player taps another player on the ankle while going for the puck, it's a penalty. It's not making the game faster or more exciting, it's just making it as random as an airport shoe check. It's a carnival.

And they only make diving calls when the other player gets a penalty too. If someone trips you and you draw attention to it, it's not the same as when someone doesn't touch you and you pretend you're shot. But I have NEVER seen a diving call made as the only penalty.

And the rule where defensemen try to clear the puck and it goes over the glass? A two-minute penalty for that is stupid.

And after the refs have physically obstructed players or deflected pucks about five times, you'd think they'd learn basic positioning.

Worst of all, this guy one row above us just wouldn't shut up. He had a nasal, Chris Russo voice, and EVERY time the Sabres got the puck in, he whined "Oh no!" EVERY DAMN TIME. Every time they passed to an open point man, he wimpered "Oh no!" Every time Buffalo got a takeaway and made it to center ice, he whinged "Oh no!" I think it was his first non-Strat-O-Matic game.

So anyway, the Islanders were outshot 17-2 in the third period but still had a chance in the end, down only one goal thanks to DiPietro's work in net. And then, in the last two minutes, they were called for a completely meaningless minor penalty. All hell broke loose. Plastic beer bottles went flying, along with water bottles and rally towels. (Or as Greg Logan put it in Newsday, "giveaway t-shirts." Newsday also showed a picture, on page A77, of Nystrom "beating Bernie Parent" to win the Cup in overtime. Yes, Bernie Parent.) People were waiting for the stuff to get cleaned up before throwing more crap on the ice. Someone hit a lineman with a bottle and people cheered. After the Isles couldn't score at the end, more debris got tossed on the ice.

Now normally, I love a good beer-soaked riot, but here's the problem with what happened. First of all, it's classless to throw things on the ice, drunk or not. The exception is when you throw hats on the ice to celebrate a three-goal game. Second of all, everyone cheered when soemone hit a lineman - he's not the one you're pissed at. Third of all, why are you throwing stuff from the 200s? You just ended up hitting other spectators. Fourth of all, you hit some Sabres - it's not their fault the refs boned the game. Show some sportsmanship and smear crap on the ref's car instead, willya?

As we were walking out of the Coliseum, I asked my daughter if she enjoyed her first drunken mob. She did, and so did her little fuzzy Islanders bear.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Membership ha's it's priveledge's

The sign of a great hotel chain: the inability to spell the name of its own rewards program properly.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Great moments in targeted advertising

The article:

Alcan spill turns Saguenay River red
Company says the substance will not
endanger the environment

The Canadian Press

Environment experts in Quebec on Saturday were monitoring a spill that turned several kilometres of the Saguenay River red.

An unknown quantity of red aluminum production residue spilled into the river on Friday after a pipe ruptured at an Alcan plant in Jonquiere, north of Quebec City.

There is no danger to people and likely not to aquatic life either, said company spokeswoman Renée Larouche.

"We want to first reassure the population that despite the way the river looks, there is no danger to the population," she said.
. . .

The accompanying ad:

Saturday, April 7, 2007

If I were a Freeper, that would be fresh!

If I were a Freeper, I could make stupid comments like calling Hillary Clinton "Hitlery." I could make brilliant comments like the one found here:

“Who made decisions, if any, that resulted unnecessarily in a lot of people getting sick?” asked Congressman Jerrold Nadler, whose district includes the World Trade Center site."

What's Jerry gonna do, sit on Rudy and crush him if he doesn't 'fess up to some made-up crime?

Photo of the extra-large Jerry:

What's the problem? The photo is from many years ago, before Rep. Nadler had weight loss surgery to fix a genetic obesity problem. Prior to that, he had tried everything, including a month-long stay at the Duke University weight loss center.

So not only is this an ad hominem argument, the supposed zinger is five years stale. He had the surgery in 2002, and he now looks like this. Let's review:

Stolen candy, cheap

I'm walking to the E subway station on 52nd and 5th. In front of the branch library, there are several young gentlemen aggressively selling candy for some alleged fundraiser. Most people want no part of it, but the youths keep up their edgy-yet-jovial tone.

I pull out my Treo and pretend to look at the screen, because this usually discourages people from bugging me. It always works when the old VFW guy tries to sell me raffle tickets for a boat in front of Stop & Shop. Not in this case. The slightly-too-aggressive teen walks right up to me - RIGHT up to me - and asks if I want to buy his candy. As I ignore him and keep walking, he actually steps in front of me to pitch, but I keep walking and ignoring him. I bump him. Really, more of a brush-by. I keep on walking as if nothing happened.

Candy Teen completes his sales pitch with the perfect closer: "You just bumped me? Fucking say you're sorry. You're not even going to say you're sorry, you candy-ass son of a bitch?"

Well, in that case give me TWO packets of stolen M&Ms!

But why chlorine?????

I just had MSNBC on while I was cooking some breakfast. The anchordunce was talking with a "military analyst" about chlorine bombs recently used in Iraq. She said, and this is a very close paraphrase, "I mean, why chlorine? What makes chlorine so deadly when it's the same chemical we use in our swimming pools and cleaning products and bleach?"

Other questions she might want to ask the analyst: "Why are bullets so deadly? I mean, women need to take daily iron supplements." "If E. coli is in everyone's gut, why isn't everyone sick?" "How can electrodes on someone's genitals hurt? I mean, it's the same electricity we use to watch television with every day!"

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

America's Mayor

Rudy Giuliani seems to be getting pissy about coverage of his personal life. Last night, he told WCBS that people should lay off his third wife.

The former New York City mayor is fending off increased media scrutiny of his third wife -- the former Judith Nathan. Rudy is now asking the media to back off.

"Attack me all you want," Giuliani said. "There's plenty to attack me about. Please do it. But maybe, you know, show a little decency."

Yes, this is Rudy Giuliani asking others to show a little decency. Rudy Giuliani, the man about whom the Village Voice once said "he's never walked past a pissing contest without unzipping."

This is the same Giuliani who, when a "celebrity madame" was busted a decade ago, made sure that they announced that one of the names in her black book was Marv Albert's. No charges, no evidence that it was him instead of someone using a fake name. No reason at all to do this other than to be a smirky little shit.

This is the same Giuliani who lost the city $290K when someone called his radio show to complain that cops were running a traffic-signal trap near the Bronx Zoo. Giuliani got pissed and had the man's prior arrest record released, including a dropped charge of sodomy in the 1970s. Giuliani said of the incident, "There is nothing to apologize for."

This is the same Giuliani who released juvenile records of Patrick Dorismond after the unarmed man was shot by cops.

This is the same Giuliani who made the MTA take ads from New York magazine off the sides of city buses. The ads said "Possibly the only good thing in New York Rudy hasn't taken credit for."

This is the same Giuliani who, as a DA, would make high-profile arrests by marching Wall Street executives out of their offices in handcuffs, past their coworkers and preassembled media. Usually, these cases were later dropped.

And after living his life like this for decades, after using the tool of shredded dignity in order to punish the innocent people who crossed him, Rudy Giuliani expects that people should treat him with decency?

Giuliani is a petty little bitch who will take every opportunity to slime someone personally and ruin their reputation if it means it'll win him a dispute. Or even if it doesn't, to make sure that the other person doesn't win either. Or even worse, just for fun. He's got surprisingly little character, and he surrounds himself with people like Kerik.

Show him some decency? Screw that.