January 2007 Archives

Pet washing

I came across this "Pet Spa" today, and at first you think it's a great idea. You put the puppy in dirty, and (s)he comes out clean. I bet my puppy would love it, although she would probably try to eat the water. From every nozzle. At the same time.

There seems to be a problem with cats, though. Apparently, cats don't like water, especially not in enclosed spaces.

Apparently I'm not the only one...

Have you ever clicked on a link in Wikipedia only to find it instantaneously become 3 hours later, and what you're looking at isn't anywhere remotely related to what you went there to look up? And of course you have 10 more windows to look through.

Of course you have. That's what Wikipedia is good for.

Links for 22 Jan 2007 [del.icio.us]

  • The Big Picture - "Did you ever try to write poetry in a committee meeting? It’s like a bunch of fat construction guys trying to write an opera while sitting on the couch watching Baywatch."

Super Bowl

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For those of you in the Chicago area that don't have a party to go to in 2 weeks, you're invited to ours. Drop me an email or put a note in the comments, and I'll send you the details.

UPDATE: YouTube has removed all of the superbowl shuffle videos, so here's one from metacafe. We'll see how long this lasts...

Super Bowl Shuffle

Time to crown 'em

The bears are who we thought they were...

Video of (former) Arizona Coach Dennis Green

It's SUPER BOWL time, baby!!!

Setting Goals

Last year I completed my first season of triathlons with one sprint distance (.5mi swim, 12.5 mi bike, 4.2mi run) and one olympic distance (1mi/25mi bike, 6.2mi run) race. This past week I started training for this year. I am planning on doing the same two races this year, and I may add a third sprint in late June--I still haven't decided.

When I finished the Chicago Triathlon last year I set 1 major goal with 3 sub-goals for this season. The first is to lose weight. When I started training last year, I was a plump 238 pounds. I got that from working far too much and eating far too poorly. I'm surprised I didn't break my chair at the office (well I did, but not because of being fat). I raced in August at 218, a 20# drop. I'm starting my training at 214 this year, and my goal is to drop another 20 before August. I think I can do it as long as I don't drink too much beer :)

Secondly I stated that I want to swim faster, and swim the whole mile freestyle. Last year I never could get in a rhythm doing free, so I swam most of it breast stroke. It's slower, and a lot more taxing on your legs (important for the bike and the run). While training I had a hard time doing more than a 1/2mi straight free (even at the end of the season). I started my swimming this past week, and did most of the 1/2mi free. I'm happy with that, and I think I will be able to push that further as the season goes on.

Finally, I need to run faster. I picked up a book on run training and have started to change my running style. In this book, Ken Mierke--a triathlon coach, and developer of the "evolution" style of running--talks about how to run faster by doing less work. I've started doing some of the techniques, and feel faster, but my endurance is less right now. I know that by the time the races come around I'll be better, but it's gonna be a slow process. I did lose a lot of my run endurance, but I'm not sure if that is due to the new style or due to being a lazy bum for 3 months.

If I can hit my goal of doing it in under 3 hrs, and under 1hr on the run, I plan on expanding my races in 2008. Eventually I'll make it to Hawaii. It may not be for another 15 years, but I will get there.

Links for 19 Jan 2007 [del.icio.us]

Links for 18 Jan 2007 [del.icio.us]

Links for 17 Jan 2007 [del.icio.us]

Links for 11 Jan 2007 [del.icio.us]

  • Nubbins of Yum - Oatmeal Raisin cookies that look too good not to try.
  • TyStudio - a GPLed set of tools for extracting, editing, and converting of tivo tystreams

Yet another way Gmail is cool

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In the enlarged picture, notice the little "Would you like to..." box on the right? That's right, they recognize and parse out the tracking number from the email and give you a direct link to the UPS tracking website. Something I noticed this morning (but didn't grab a screenshot of it) was the integration they recently added (it wasn't there a week ago) with google calendar. They scrape the tracking results for the estimated delivery date and allow you to create an event on your calendar directly from gmail.

They do this for FedEx and DHL (and probably others) as well.

Links for 10 Jan 2007 [del.icio.us]

  • gethuman - Handy list of how to get to a human with various companies

Links for 08 Jan 2007 [del.icio.us]

(In)Security Questions

My favorite part of registering for a website is usually near the bottom of the registration form. You know, that little drop down box with 3 choices in it: "What is your mother's maiden name?" "What is your favorite color?" "What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?". You are supposed to select a question for "security purposes." Sometimes you even get the option to create your own question. Whoop-dee-doo.

Why is this bad?

Next time you are presented with the options, see how many people you can name the know the answer to each question. I bet if you think hard enough, you can usually name someone for each question. If someone really wants to impersonate you, all they need to do is find your friends and do some social engineering to find the answers. In most cases, all you need is a few simple answers and you can get and/or change passwords to most online accounts.

You didn't seem too excited about creating your own questions. Why not?

The chances of you coming up with a question that is more secure is slim, but possible. If you take a look at some recent data on passwords, you can see that people in general aren't really all that creative (except that password1 replaced password--if you call that creative).

Yeah, yeah, yeah, but most of these sites are harmless anyway, aren't they?

It's true, most of the sites that want this information are indeed harmless. You've got forums pertaining to a topic, free software download sites, etc. I have noticed, however, that more and more commercial entities are sneaking these into their registration forms. The more popular it becomes, the more popular it becomes. It's perceived security, much like airport security, but I digress. Some of these companies--insurance agents, banks, hospitals, etc.--can have lots of your personal data.

So why are you writing about this now?

I'm glad you asked... This morning when logging into the web interface for my credit card, they informed me that I could only log in 3 more times without setting up my security questions. Umm... What?!? I HAVE to set up my security questions? They want to make my account less secure by giving people more ways to prove that they are me? That just doesn't make a bit of sense to me. At least the questions were off the wall, but I can still name at least one person (other than my wife) for each question that knows the answer. Usually I will use the questions to see how many random and special characters (%, &, *, etc.) I can fill the box with, but I decided to use real answers, as they said the questions would also be used to access certain sections of my account. Unfortunately one of my answers had a single apostrophe in it, and it complained about the special characters.

Thanks for "increasing" security. I'd rather call you to change my password, thanks.

Links for 05 Jan 2007 [del.icio.us]

  • Sushi - A funny parody on eating sushi
  • Amazon’s Price Drop Policy - "Did you know that if the price on something you buy drops, within 30 days of your purchase date, Amazon.com will credit you the difference if you ask for it?"

Links for 04 Jan 2007 [del.icio.us]

Links for 02 Jan 2007 [del.icio.us]

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2006 is the previous archive.

February 2007 is the next archive.

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