Older blog entries for xach (starting at number 38)

One of the delights of my life in the Free Software thing is watching the progress of the creeping batshit insanity of Bowie J. Poag.

I'm seriously thinking of starting a PoagWatch website. Bowie's typical pattern is to say something completely batshit insane for several months (InSight, System12, Propaganda), then take it down. Someone should capture the spirit of those gems forever.

'Cause remember, smug is beautiful.

18 Sep 2000 (updated 18 Sep 2000 at 21:28 UTC) »

So, I combined the Tiger ZIP code file with the Great Circle Distance formula. The result: you can now figure out how far away the next phlux concert is.

Does anyone know a better (newer) source of ZIP/latitude&longitude mappings? There seems to be a great variety of products on the market, but I'm having a hard time deciphering the marketing-speak.

13 Sep 2000 (updated 13 Sep 2000 at 21:17 UTC) »

Nader on Leno last night was a little embarrassing.

I took some more pictures of Talmadge sights and scanned them. My scanner is developing an annoying stripe. I'd like to get a digital camera, but I really want to preserve my investment in Nikon lenses, and I can't afford a D1. Poo.

I was messing with PHP 4.0.2 and it seems I did something to prevent HTTP PUT from working like it used to (in 3.0.x). Hmm.

I went to the record store yesterday. I came straight from work, so I was in my khakis, Arizona polo shirt, and dress shoes. I bought a Rage Against the Machine CD, and all the way back to the car I kept thinking, "Who am I kidding? I'm the machine! I'm the machine!"

I am writing a set of scheme functions to calculate the score of a hand of cribbage. It's thrilling.

Use PHP to write (My)SQL to discover distances:

function great_circle_mysql_formula($place1, $place2)
        $la0 = "((pi() / 2) - radians(90 - $place1[0]))";
        $la1 = "((pi() / 2) - radians(90 - $place2[0]))";
        $lo0 = "radians($place1[1])";
        $lo1 = "radians($place2[1])";

return "(6378 / 1.609344) * acos( cos($la0) * cos($la1) * cos($lo0 - $lo1) + sin($la0) * sin($la1) )"; }

You could pass in literal numbers for latitude and longitude in place1 and place2, or (more useful) column names, if you happen to have a table with some latitude and longitude data in it. The "(6378 / 1.609344)" is a constant that specifies the value is in miles; remove the "/ 1.609344" if you're into kilometers.

Shamelessly copied from Perl's Math::Trig module.

I released a new version of snarf, fixing a couple bugs. The version number got bumped from 2.0.9 to 7.0, just because.

I didn't bring a birth certificate for my trip to Canada. The American Airlines checkin clerk told me I could have a hard time getting out of Canada without it. I spent the four days at OLS vaguely wondering if I'd get fined or stuck in Canada when I tried to leave.

On the last day, as I was going through US customs on my way out of Ottawa, I showed my Maine driver's license to the agent.

"Do you have your birth certificate with you?"

"No, I'm afraid not."

Eyeing my license, he asked me where I was born. When I told him Massachusetts, he gave me a stern look. "So you're not a real Mainer, then."

"Uh. No. Well. Not really." Was I in trouble?

Then he grinned. "It's worse for me, I moved there from New York. Most of the agents here are Mainers." He waved me along. "Go on through, bring your birth certificate next time."

OLS is going ok so far. I've only done one critically embarrassing thing and that's almost a day behind me, so things are working out. Ottawa has a nice city center. It's a bit like Portland (Maine) on a larger scale.

Wow! Famous!

I'm off to OLS Wednesday morning.

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