Archive for March, 2010

For any math teacher who was ever frustrated trying to answer the question “What does math have to do with anything” from some snotty little brat in their class.

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Just show them this film…

Nature by Numbers from Cristóbal Vila on Vimeo.

… then tell them to STFU and GBTW.

Gunny Hartman: “Do you any of you dumbasses know who Gerald Lancaster was?”

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Gunny Hartman: That is correct!  And do you know where this individual developed his resistance to tear gas?


Gunny Hartman: IN THE MARINES!  OUTSTANDING!  This man showed what one motivated Marine and a pair of titanium balls can do!  And before you leave my island, you will be all be able to do the same thing!

250 foot whirlpool found off coast of Maine.

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This is why you shouldn’t divide by zero.

If you want to see a clinic on how not to run a promotion…

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1.  Take a look at this coupon.

2.  Take a look at KMart’s facebook page.

3.  Don’t do what KMart did, which is basically forget that the internet exists and that people send coupons to other people.

4.  Profit.

What healthcare reform looks like: The facts.

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Just what it will do and when.

Here is the article that describes some of the pertinent details.

Dime would be proud.

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Check this out.  The oldest kid is 16 years old.  The singer is 12.  I applaud their music teacher.

The results of the financial crisis unfold before your eyes.

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I think we’re to the point now where nobody in this country hasn’t felt the effects of the financial crisis in some way, shape, or form, be it for good or ill.  Whether it’s the CEO bemoaning the shrinking size of his once grossly over-inflated bonus, or the laid-off worker watching the sheriff place the foreclosure notice on his front door.  I’ve seen this on an anecdotal level myself.  I live in a fairly new development of colonial style houses, a few of which have had the misfortune of being foreclosed or sold at sheriff’s sales.  What I did not realize, until I read this article, was what it looked like on a national scale.  I even worked for a company (a subsidiary of AIG) that dealt in sub-prime mortgage bundles, but I never saw what one of those bundles actually looked like.  I did see a small part of the underwriting process (that was interesting enough itself) because I helped administrate the software that the mortgage reps used, but at the time, I was ignorant (admittedly somewhat willfully) of the larger picture.   Not so after today.

Accompanying the aforementioned article is a brilliant interactive infographic that makes this disaster even more vivid.

Think of this whole thing as an economic snuff film, and you’ll find that it’s really not an exaggeration.

NYC lawmaker wants to singlehandedly destroy the greatest food city in America.

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I think Tom Colichio said it best.

“New York City is considered the restaurant capital of the world. If they banned salt, nobody would come here anymore,” said Tom Colicchio, star of “Top Chef” and owner of Craft.

Eric Ripert said it too.  Just with a heavy French accent.

“I have zero problems with blood pressure, zero problems with my health, and I have eaten salt all my life,” said Eric Ripert, chef at world-famous Manhattan restaurant Le Bernardin.

“Cooked food tastes good with salt and it’s bland without it,” said Ripert. “I believe very much that processed food is not good for you. But salt – salt is different. There are zero dishes I prepare that have no salt at all.

I find it hilarious that a bill like this is even being considered.  I’m thoroughly convinced that politicians are idiots.  Party has nothing to do with it.

Citrix and the ODBC Administrator: Not so perfect together.

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I was tasked with building a test server so that a client could test a new feature in a hotfix that was going to be applied to their software package.  The server is installed with software and configured to look like a mirror of their production box, right down to the hardware on which the software runs and I’ve done this many times before so I didn’t think this was going to be a huge problem.  As soon as that sentence entered my thoughts, I should have known better.

Once the hardware was secured and the OS (Windows Server 2003 SP2) was installed, it was time to get about the business of making this look like the client’s production environment.  Two of the tasks involved in this were…

  1. Installing Citrix so that the client could access the box for testing, and
  2. Adding system DSN’s via the ODBC administrator so that data could be pulled from SQL server to the locally installed database application (to be installed later).

Citrix came first.  Once that was completed, I opened the ODBC administrator and found to my horror that when I either tried to create a new system DSN, the ODBC administrator shut down the second you hit the configure button.  I won’t bore you with the details, but this led to myself and the intrepid I.T. staff I work with running down several plausible, but incorrect and time-wasting paths (A missed Windows software update?  Bad disk cluster?  Bad OS install?  Me being the pawn of  a vengeful supreme being’s sick sense of humor?).  Fortunately, as with so many other things, the interwebs came to our rescue because huddled in an obscure little corner of the web was the solution to our problem.

Once the frustration was vented and our thoughts were collected, we actually did something we should have done from the beginning:  looked at the event logs from when the ODBC administrator failures occurred.  We found this stream of jibberish:

0000: 41 70 70 6c 69 63 61 74   Applicat
0008: 69 6f 6e 20 46 61 69 6c   ion Fail
0010: 75 72 65 20 20 6f 64 62   ure  odb
0018: 63 61 64 33 32 2e 65 78   cad32.ex
0020: 65 20 33 2e 35 32 36 2e   e 3.526.
0028: 33 39 35 39 2e 30 20 69   3959.0 i
0030: 6e 20 75 6e 6b 6e 6f 77   n unknow
0038: 6e 20 30 2e 30 2e 30 2e   n 0.0.0.
0040: 30 20 61 74 20 6f 66 66   0 at off
0048: 73 65 74 20 35 62 62 33   set 5bb3
0050: 31 32 64 65               12de

The key to this mess is this snippet:  5bb312de

This is the address in memory where the access violation is created by the Citrix Virtual Memory Optimization service.  In order to not see this again, you simply turn off that service.

If you have ever wondered how pervasive marketing is in our society…

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… look no further than this excellent short film.