Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I first registered the domain name back in 1995 during the great domain name gold rush. OK, so I was a little late to the party and all the good names were taken, but I was pretty happy to get a short domain name. I also kept the e-mail address until last year, when the volume of spam overwhelmed the little 233Mhz Soekris box I've been using as my firewall, mail, web, and home file server.

Earlier this year, I stopped renewing my Dynamic DNS service, effectively taking offline. And this month, after 16 years, I decided not to renew my domain registration.

I never really did much with the domain -- I mostly just used it to host my open source code repositories and a few toy web sites. I've been slowly working on converting the toy web sites to run on Google App Engine and am thinking of uploading the open source repositories to github. I'm not sure where I'm going to host my resume, but I'm not in any hurry to figure that one out.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

We the people

...apparently flunked our high school government classes.

As you probably know, the Obama administration has set up a "We the people" section on the White House web site so as to solicit petitions from the American people. While there are a few well thought-out petitions, the majority just serve to demonstrate that many Americans have no idea how our federal government is designed to work nor what the function of the Executive branch is. For example:
I'm sure some of the authors of the above petitions would try and defend their misdirected efforts at government participation by pointing out that neither the Senate nor the House of Representatives offers a similar venue for soliciting petitions. That is true, and it is unfortunate. But that doesn't change the fact that the White House cannot act on many of the petitions. And, when some staffer writes a lengthy explanation of what the Executive branch has been doing to try and support your cause, it is doubly unfortunate that you don't seem to comprehend that it is all that he can do to support your cause.

If you want to change the laws, you need to write your Congressman. It isn't the President's job to get your Congressman to vote the way you want.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ken Burns: The National Parks

We finished watching six of the most inspirational movies I've ever seen: the six part series that is Ken Burns' The National Parks: America's Best Idea. Each part runs at a little over 2 hours long, full of American history set to the most beautiful scenery in the country.

Starting with the founding of the first national parks, with Yosemite and Yellowstone, and continuing through to the present, the series chronicles the American values that led to the creation of the national park system. And, rather than just painting the picture in broad stokes, the series follows the individuals who fought to establish the parks for the common good as well as those who wanted to exploit the land for private gain.

I can't recommend the series enough. Of course, PBS airs them from time to time, but you can also watch them on Netflix (which is what we did). The visuals are breathtaking, the history illuminating, and the issues as topical today as they were 150 years ago.