As You Were

Devin Coughlin's blog.
Styles: Serious Spare

January 25, 2006

Convergence of Phenotype

This is insane. And way cool. (via The Loom)

Posted by coughlin at 11:27 PM

January 23, 2006

Increase Your ROI With Targeted Advertising

PC Connection is advertising 300GB internal IDEs at

Posted by coughlin at 9:49 PM

January 21, 2006

An analysis of the Bush Administration's Defense of Warrantless Wiretaps

An analysis of the Bush Administration's defense of warrantless wiretaps.

It contains a reminder of something we all learned in Government/Civics class but tend to forget: the 4th Amendment's "right" to privacy was created precisely to protect us from unreasonable searches by the military — so Bush's claim that he is afforded the power to conduct warrantless searches under the mantle of "Commander-in-Chief in a time of war" is particularly specious. More evidence that Original Intent is nowadays less a coherent legal philosophy than a code-word of the Religious Right.

Posted by coughlin at 1:26 PM

January 19, 2006

You Know You're In Trouble When Your Textbooks Are Yellow

I've just bought the textbook for my set theory class.

Set Theory by Kunen

It's a little bit daunting to see that almost everything I've ever learned about set theory, model theory, and logic fits into the first chapter of this book. But the author is snarky, so this should be fun.

Some choice quotations:

"We apologize to those mathematicians who are chagrined at not seeing their names mentioned more often." (p. xiv)

"The Axiom of Foundation is, as always in mathematics, totally irrelevant." (p. 47)

Posted by coughlin at 7:19 PM

My Satellite Doesn't Like the Snow

Staticky Hardball

Update: I have fashioned a most ingenious device from a mop, a broom, and about 25 rubber bands that seems to have fixed the problem.

Posted by coughlin at 3:25 PM


For the last couple weeks I've been reading enplaned, a blog about the airline industry that I found via ongoing. Reading this blog is a little bit like reading my mom's issues of JAMA — all the words make sense, except the acronyms, but taken as a whole I really have no idea whether it's bullshit or not. Still, it's a fascinating view into the giant clusterfuck that is the US airline industry.

Entire fuselage of one plane being loaded into another

Today I saw this graphic and got really exited. For a long time I've fantasized about decoupling the passenger loading process from the plane landing process. Every time a plane arrives late from the previous leg, we're stuck in the waiting area while they unload passengers and bags and clean the plane. It seems like it should be possible to have a removable passenger and luggage compartment that could be filled before the plane arrives. When a plane arrives, the arriving compartment would roll out and the departing compartment would roll in. You'd still have to fuel the plane and do safety checks, but I imagine it would reduce turnaround time considerably. In my mind every passenger row has DeLorean-like doors on each end that would make the boarding and un-boarding process much less of a hassle. Woohoo! No more single-file lines.

Now, this could never happen. It would require a massive change in airport infrastructure, completely new plane designs, and would add a whole new level of scheduling hell (you'd have to keep track of the locations of passenger compartments in addition to actual aircraft and flight crew). Plus it would be a disincentive to shell out for first class. This image is actually a rendering of plane used to transport plane fuselages, but still, standing in line waiting for the thirty rows in front of you to exit the plane, one can dream, right?

Posted by coughlin at 12:55 PM

January 18, 2006

Daikatana, or where'd I leave my keys?

A fascinating (and long) article about Ion Storm and the controversies behind the long development process of Daikatana.

Even though I first saw it this afternoon, I can't, for the life of me, remember where I got this link from. A mere eight hours later that particular bit of knowledge is long gone. I assumed I read it on someone's blog, but Spotlight doesn't show anything in my feeds. It's not in my Safari history, so I must have followed a link in NetNewsWire, which only keeps history as long as the tab is open. I used to use HistoryHound, but really that's just an open invitation for the other side to screw you six ways to Sunday during discovery, so it's the internets for me.

But — Technorati is no help at all; the search engines are worse. PubSub doesn't work this way. Come on, you princes of industry, you Google people, you red-headed stepchildren of Web 2.0 — surely some kind-hearted VC will give you money to help me with my short-term memory problem?

(I confess that in my delerium I tend to emulate Ben [that is, the nonplatonic ideal of Ben-that-was]. It is not pathological, I assure you — merely exhaustion.)

Posted by coughlin at 9:56 PM

January 15, 2006

HTML in Email

I have long held in contempt those who, whether through ignorance or malice, allow their email to be blighted by inline html. You've all been subjected to these horrible messages — they arrive in odd, garish colors in those tiny, variable-spaced typefaces Microsoft and AOL decided looked good in 1998 — and god help you if you actually try to read the thing as raw source.

"What rubes," I think as I squint to skim their unreadable text. "Don't they know that only complete newbies and lazy assholes send HTML in their email?"

Whenever I get an email like this, I immediately write off the sender as either too clueless or too much of a dipshit to take seriously. It's one thing to get this garbage from your grandmother — it's quite another to get it from someone who pretends to be even moderately technically literate.

So it was with some surprise, and not a small amount of shame, today that I noticed I've been littering some of my outgoing email with html attachments for nine months, ever since I bought my current computer. My sincere apologies to all who have had to deal with this effluvia. Sometimes we look down on the unwashed masses and discover that they are us.

Of course, I can still look down upon those silly people who don't take the time to compose a three or four word subject line...

Posted by coughlin at 9:59 PM

January 7, 2006

Battery University

Everything you ever wanted to know about Lithium ion batteries.

Although lithium-ion is memory-free in terms of performance deterioration, batteries with fuel gauges exhibit what engineers refer to as "digital memory". Here is the reason: Short discharges with subsequent recharges do not provide the periodic calibration needed to synchronize the fuel gauge with the battery's state-of-charge. A deliberate full discharge and recharge every 30 charges corrects this problem. Letting the battery run down to the cut-off point in the equipment will do this. If ignored, the fuel gauge will become increasingly less accurate.

but ...

A lithium-ion battery provides 300-500 discharge/charge cycles. The battery prefers a partial rather than a full discharge. Frequent full discharges should be avoided when possible.

also ...

Avoid purchasing spare lithium-ion batteries for later use. Observe manufacturing dates. Do not buy old stock, even if sold at clearance prices ... If you have a spare lithium-ion battery, use one to the fullest and keep the other cool by placing it in the refrigerator. Do not freeze the battery. For best results, store the battery at 40% state-of-charge.

Posted by coughlin at 9:06 PM

January 5, 2006

One Less Feed to Read

Looks like we lost Wonkette. But now I won't forget to buy her book.
Posted by coughlin at 2:57 PM

January 3, 2006

This American Life Holiday Spectacular

This American Life's most excellent holiday episode is yet more proof that TAL is the best show on radio. While not safe for fundamentalists, this irreverent episode is sure to warm the heart of even the most skeptical of cafeteria Christians, and its first act is a modern holiday story (in meter, no less) for the rest of us.

And since no post about This American Life is complete without them, links to the two best segments of TAL, ever:

TAL is a national treasure.

Posted by coughlin at 12:11 PM

January 2, 2006

How did NTP deal with the leap second?

Not well, apparently. (via drunkenbatman)
Posted by coughlin at 9:41 AM