Making the virtual real

NEC’s ecotonoha project is interesting in how it mixes the virtual with the real world. Everyday a new “tree” is setup and people leave messages as “leaves” on the tree. For every 100 “leaves” added to the virtual tree, a real tree is planted on Kangaroo Island in South Australia.

There is plenty of armchair activism to be found online, but it’s rare when anything real comes of it, and this looks like a cool reforestation project that uses the web to fuel it.

Reminder to self

Since Heather’s site doesn’t ping or, it doesn’t pop up on my new fangled devices and I have to remember to go to the site by hand every so often. It’s probably been at least a month since I remembered and it’s been far too long so I’m posting this as a reminder to myself.

The Dooce is the best personal website, period, and my all-time favorite weblog. I can’t get enough of it and I wish I could write one tenth as funny as she does every day.

Cozying up to both OSes

A few months ago, I added a second monitor on my PC workstation and I grew to love it. I could keep development applications on the larger screen, and keep email and IM on the other. It was more organized and I could work more efficiently, sliding from one monitor to the other as needed. More recently, I’ve added my powerbook to my desk, and thanks to various specialized applications, I’m using that as well, but with three monitors spanning two operating systems, I’m finding it cumbersome to jump from one machine to the other regularly.

For a solution, I’ve been looking into KVM switches like this one. It would let me run my single USB keyboard and mouse on either the mac or PC, and I could switch operating systems on my main monitor with a click of a button. But using dual monitors has made me wish for something more integrated.

My ideal workspace would still span two monitors, and I would still get to use a single keyboard and mouse, but I would love to be able to slide between operating systems fluidly with the same dual monitor desktop setup. This would let me do development work in Photoshop and Homesite on my PC showing in one monitor, and my mac would be running in the second one, running Apache, Mail, and iChat. I could copy URLs from iChat and paste them into my PC running mozilla. Mac on the left screen, PC on the right screen, with a single mouse pointer controlling both and sliding effortlessly between the two; basically the best of both worlds, in a single desktop environment.

While my ideal vision seems impossible on the surface, I can’t help but wonder if the best selling PC software emulator for the mac being bought by Microsoft would make this a real-world possibility. While I guess I could get a dual monitor mac setup, with virtual PC running in one full window, I don’t want to be tied down to expensive mac hardware that ultimately runs PC apps slow as molasses. On the other hand, perhaps a full screen VNC session with the mac from my PC would accomplish the same thing, and let me stay on the cheaper hardware.

While Apple and Microsoft would likely never want to co-exist on the same desktop, as a computer professional I would love to be in the position of being able to run the best tool for the particular job at hand.

update: thanks to input from various readers, this has been solved!

New virus?

I wonder if a new variant of the blaster worm is out that builds on the older outlook email viruses. I probably get a pointless email once every couple days with a virus attached, but today I’ve gotten about three dozen, and worse yet, I’ve gotten 3 bounces from people that got virus-laden messages with my return address.

update: ah, I’m getting pummeled with the sobig virus, three four five more in the minutes since I wrote this entry. [thanks andy]

Anyone know how to write a server-side procmail script to delete any incoming messages with attachments that end in .pif? I’d rather never see another again and it doesn’t seem that hard to banish them forever (my Mozilla email client can’t seem to create filters based on attachments).

When red, all caps type isn’t enough

In December of 1999, I sold my car from a page on my website, taking out online ads in the appropriate places and mentioning the URL.

The funny thing is I get a steady stream of emails asking if it is still for sale. If you check out the pages, I think it’s pretty obvious it was in fact sold, but still once a week or so I get a request for it.

I don’t know what that says about online readers or what it proves, but it still boggles my mind when I get one of those emails.

You can see why I never mention my family here

Oh good lord, my uncle is a city councilman for Chino, California and recently went on KROQ to refute a joke from the FOX show O.C., and has gone so far as to begin a letter-writing campaign against the network.

I grew up a short distance from Chino and visited my aunt and uncle often, always dreading the first 10 minutes of being there, until I got used to the smell. I spent several years in Riverside, just 20 miles away in the smelly wake of Chino and we could smell the cows with some regularity. When I was doing wastewater management work for a class I even got to visit a handful of Chino dairies first hand. Let there be no doubt that the worst smell I’ve ever experienced was standing over a runoff pond adjacent to a milking facility. Never in my life did I ever come so close to vomiting based solely on a smell.

Farms smell, that’s what cows do, and everyone in Southern California knows Chino stinks a bit. I know I won’t be scoring any points at the annual family dinner, but I really hope my uncle relaxes and lets it go. Afterall, it’s FOX for chrissakes, and another lame show of theirs, at that.

Remember how much we laughed when the Mayor of Rio tried to sue FOX over a Simpons in Brazil show? Don’t let Chino become the butt of even more jokes. [via the Veen]