September 30, 2004

Cutting down the FAT

CNET this morning reported on the success of the Public Patent Foundation's push for re-examine one of Microsoft's key FAT patents. FAT is a old file format which, while no longer in use in OS's such as XP, still finds a great amount use on media such as floppy disks, flash memory cards, etc. Because the file format is lightweight and openly documented, and, for quite sometime, completely free, it became widely adapted. Recently, Microsoft began charging manufacturers to use to the format.

Known as 517, US5579517 describes a method by which short and long filenames can co-exist in an operating system.

An operating system provides a common name space for both long filenames and short filenames. In this common namespace, a long filename and a short filename are provided for each file. Each file has a short filename directory entry and may have at least one long filename directory entry associated with it. The number of long filename directory entries that are associated with a file depends on the number of characters in the long filename of the file. The long filename directory entries are configured to minimize compatibility problems with existing installed program bases.
Microsoft has 90 days to respond.

Posted by torque at 10:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 27, 2004

Where does the flu vaccine come from anyway?

flu.gifIn this case, truth is stranger than fiction. Each year, at around springtime, nearly a hundred million fertilized eggs are injected with the viruses of choice. The shells are cracked, the embryos infected and the egg resealed. After about four to five months of growth, the viruses are "harvested, and then killed through chemical means". According to Karen Hopkin, someday manufacturers hope to swtich to stainless-steel culture vats filled with cells derived from humans. Clinical trials will begin this fall.

Source: ScienCentral.

Posted by torque at 11:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 24, 2004

Country Sun

My wife stopped by Country Sun today. It was her first time there. According to her, pretty intimate. They have a large section of herbal remedies. I've heard of Country Sun before, is it a chain? It was "quite organized and clean". Mostly older white women, friendly and nice - "certainly friendlier than Molly Stones". They have steel cut oats there for 99 cents a pound. Is that expensive? Wheat berries were $7.49 a pound. Maybe you only eat a few at a time. They also have a whole lot of beans, navy beans, mung beans, kidney beans, mazuki beans, green split pea, red lentils - all sorts "very beautiful and incredibly good for you." And so many varieties of granola, even one spelled "grinola".

I checked... there is only one.

Founded by a group of local professionals in 1971, Country Sun began as a 'full-service natural foods market', different from the usual fare provided by health food stores at that time. The store quickly outgrew its original address and in 1984, moved a few storefronts down to its current location at 440 S. California Avenue in Palo Alto, California.

"It's not pretentious... I think Andronico's is pretentious."

Update: Unbelieveable. She even found the famous "TastyBite" insta-Indian food there. Madras Lentils Dal Makhani - whole lentils and red kidney beans simmered in a creamy sauce of onions, tomatoes, ginger and herbs. No refrigerator required! I'll definitely blog about this later. It's a product of India - $3-4, make your own rice.

Posted by torque at 11:44 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

September 23, 2004

Upgrading to MT 3.11

I did it, and it was surprisingly painless. Basically you take the upgrade package and copy it over your old MT files. In my particular case I had to make sure that my *.cgi had properly set permissions (755) as I was copying from Windows to UNIX. Now, how can set it up so that my old entries start using the new format names without losing visitors from Google?

Posted by torque at 1:30 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 22, 2004

DDC114: Quad Current Input 20-Bit Analog-To-Digital Converter

The DDC114 is a 4-channel current input ADC. Featuring 20-bits, the data sheet claims the ability resolve fA's. It is expensive, costing $18 in 1000 unit quantities. Applications include CT scanners, photodiode sensors, infrared pyrometers and liquid/gas chromatography. It is protected by US5841310.

Posted by torque at 2:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Javascript calendar

I've looked all around and Mihai Bazon's calendar script (jscalendar) really is the coolest. The other stuff on his page is quite interesting as well.

Posted by torque at 12:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Almost ready to update

I'm almost brave enough to upgrade this blog to MT 3.11 - I'm currently testing it on an alternate site and it seems pretty solid. One issue I noticed, even with the new MT-Blacklist I'm already getting spam... sigh. According to my sources, all I need to do is grab the upgrade files, make the substitution, and run the update script. The old permalinks should work and supposedly someone out there has a redirect script so that one can take advantage of the new Google-optimized titles. Anyone have info on this?

Posted by torque at 12:33 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 17, 2004

structured settlement brokers

The list of authorized structured settlement brokers is amazingly small (159). The Department of Justice provides this list in PDF format as well as well as the declaration statement. The correct term is an "annuity broker". The minimum qualifiactions can be found in 28 CFR 50.24 but are also listed in the declaration.

Minimum requirements

  1. The broker must have a current license issued by at least one State, the District of Columbia, or a Territory of the United States as a life insurance agent, producer, or broker;
  2. The broker must have a current license or appointment issued by at least one life insurance company to sell its structured settlement annuity contracts or to act as a structured settlement consultant or
    broker for the company;
  3. The broker must be currently covered by an Errors and Omissions insurance policy, or an equivalent form of insurance;
  4. The broker must never have had a license to be a life insurance agent, producer, or broker revoked, rescinded, or suspended for any reason or for any period of time;
  5. The broker must not have been convicted of a felony; and
  6. The broker must have had substantial experience in each of the past three years in providing structured settlement brokerage services to or on behalf of defendants or their counsel.

Registered annuity brokers
ADAMS, James Mooman; Houston, TX
ALEXANDER, Albert May Jr.; Memphis, TN
ALLEN, Thomas G.; Columbia, SC
ALVAREZ-PEREZ, Jose Ruben; Mayaguez, PR
ALWAISE, Angela; New York, NY
BARKHAUSEN, Henry W.; Chicago, IL
BARTH, Robert W. Jr.; Bryn Mawr, PA
BASS, Elizabeth Ann; Etters, PA
BEATTY, James Martin; Norcross, GA
BENCIVENGA, Patrick; Brooklyn, NY
BIGLER, Clay N.; Richmond, KY
BLANKENSHIP, Gary Gill; Fairfax, VA
BLONDER, Leonard A.; Los Angeles, CA
BORNSTEIN, Joseph H.; Dallas, TX
BOWERS, Jeffrey S.; Kirkwood, MO
BRADFORD, Charles Shannon; Atlanta, GA
BRANDT, Paul S.; Arlington, VA
BRANT, Gary Lyness; Sewickley, PA
BROOKS, Jeffrey C; Totowa, NJ
BROWN, Kathleen M.; Irvine, CA
BROWN, Phillip J.; Tulsa, OK
BUNCH, Howard R. Jr.; Bettendorf, IA
CADDY, Judson, Newby Jr.; Mt. Airy, MD
CALDERON, Irene; Santa Ana, CA
CALDWELL, Daniel R.; Arlington, TX
CANFIELD, Jeffrey Mark; Morganville, NJ
CANTWELL, Bradford W.; Chicago, IL
CAPLES, Robert; Sugar Land, TX
CHRISTIE, Keith M.; Metairie, LA
CLEMMENS, Kenneth E.; Baltimore, MD
COCHRAN, John E.; Huntsville, TX
COOPER, Alan G.; Moraga, CA
COOPER, Roger F.; Darnestown, MD
COSTELLO, Joseph M., Greenwood Village, CO
CURRY, Thomas W.; Columbus, OH
CURTIS, Lawrence H.; Rockville, MD
DANOWSKY, Richard R.; Sigourney, IA
DeBACHER, Bruce Edward; Miami, FL
DESTRALO, Joseph M.; Runnemede, NJ
DiGANGI, Joseph A.; Easton, PA
DOLNY, Thomas J.; Fairfax, VA
EAKINS, John E.; Greenwood Village, CO
ELGIN, Robert Scott; Middleburg, VA
ELGIN, Michelle M.; Middleburg, VA
ENGELS, Donald J.; Chicago, IL
EVANS, Robert Kirkman; Cumming, GA
EVERETTE-COOPER, Alice; Darnestown, MD
EVOLA, Melissa; St. Clair Shores, MI
FEINMAN, Ron; Lynchburg, VA
FELDHEIM, Mark S.; Washington, DC
FELDHEIM, Michele M.; Washington, DC
GARGAN, Joseph E.; Arlington, VA
GARRISON, James P.; Phoenix, AZ
GOODMANN, Daniel J.; Chicago, IL
GOTSHALL, Ralph M.; Paoli, PA
GURLEY, Jayne A.; Bellevue, WA
HAMILTON, T. Scott; Duluth, GA
HAMILTON, Terrence Scott; Norcross, GA
HANAIKE, Dona L.; Honolulu, HI
HARRIS, Gary L.; Merrill, WI
HARRIS, Steven Craig; Minneapolis, MN
HART, David M. Jr.; New Hartford, NY
HATHAWAY, Paul A.; St. Clair Shores, MI
HENRY, Deryck; Harrisburg, PA
HICKEY, David J.; Sewickley, PA
HILLIARD, Pamela K.; Ft. Worth, TX
HOBGOOD, Daisy Ann; Louisville, KY
HUVER, Daniel C; Exton, PA
HUVER, Joseph W.; Exton, PA
JACOBSMEIER, Paulette M.; Chicago, IL
JOYNER, Charles D. HI; Atlanta, GA
KAGELS, Raymond Stuart; Beverly, MA
KAUFMAN, Harold R.; Dana Point, CA
KEARNS, John P.; Phoenix, AZ
KENNEY, Kevin J.; Los Angeles, CA
KIMES, Matthew Walter; Scottsdale, AZ
KIMES, Walter Lawson; Scottsdale, AZ
KLAPPS, James P.; Washington, DC
KLINGER, Connie; Tampa, FL
KLINGER, Peter J.; Tampa, FL
KOEHN, Dennis Neff; Memphis, TN
KORMANN, Jamie L.; Joppa, MD
KUKLO, Linda; Rockville, MD
LARNED, Christopher E.; Barrington, RI
LAW, Patricia A.; Gilbert, AZ
LEWIS, Richard Albert; Dallas, TX
LOGAN, James E.; West Bloomfield, MI
LOWE, Gordon A.; Blair, NE
LUKENS, Greg S.; Minneapolis, MN
MacGREGOR, Scott Brian; Encinitas, CA
MAIDENS, Mark E.; Brandon, FL
MANGELSDORF, Thomas V.; Dallas, TX
MARCOM, Stephen B.; Houston, TX
MARSH, Leslie John; Great Falls, MT
MARTIN, John Shale; Clayton, NC
MAYER, Gregory J.; Scarsdale, NY
MAZZOTTA, Bruno R.; St. Louis, MO
McANALLY, Annemarie H.; Exton, PA
McANDREWS, Edward; Swarthmore, PA
McCARTHY, Casey; Chicago, IL
McKENNA, John Jr.; Bozeman, MT
McNAY, Donald J.; Richmond, KY
MEAD, Stanley L.; Highland, UT
MENSCH, Raymond G.; Tempe, AZ
MILLER, Daniel Charles; Greenwood Village, CO
MILLER, Reginald W. III; Chagrin Falls, OH
MILOSH, Brian; Southborough, MA
NONINI, Robert P.; Coeur d'Alene, ID
OMANSKY, Louis G.; Baltimore, MD
OMANSKY, Tanna G.; Baltimore, MD
ORCUTT, James A.; Norcross, GA
OSLER, Kathleen Susan; Bellevue, WA
PARSONS, Anna Melissa; Dallas, TX
PENSION, Frank A.; Bryn Mawr, PA
PHILYAW, Ryan H.; Lee's Summit, MO
QUINTERO, Thomas A.; San Francisco, CA
RASK, Lee M.; Clackamas, OR
REID, Robert Dion; Tampa, FL
REIL, Stephen W.; Warren, NJ
RIEPE, Susan Kay; St. Paul, MN
RILEY-PUGH, Jane M.; Santa Ana, CA
RISK, Richard B. Jr.; Tulsa, OK
RISK, Robert A. II; Tulsa, OK
ROESER, John B.; San Juan Capistrano, CA
ROWLAND, James E.; Cincinnati, OH
RUDER, Lawrence M.; Town & Country, MO
RYAN, Richard; Baltimore, MD
SARNI, Dennis Christopher; Greenbrae, CA
SARNI, Terry Wilkes; Greenbrae, CA
SCHAEFER, James E.; St. Paul, MN
SCHLEEDE, Kimberly; Washington, DC
SCHNEYER, Gerard V.; Kailua-Kona, HI
SENDERS, Samuel; New York, NY
SHEERAN, David R.; Ft. Worth, TX
SHIPLEY, Lori A.; Phoenix, AZ
SHIPLEY, Lori A.; Phoenix, AZ
SHUMATE, William Christian; Dallas, TX
SMALL, David M.; Norcross, GA
STRONG, Henry Lockwood; Washington, DC
SUSS, Donald B.; Frazer, PA
SWIGART, Jeffrey F.; Frazer, PA
TAMAGNI, Alfred L. Sr.; Anchorage, AK
TEMPLETON, Gary; Natick, MA
TUGMAN, Richard John; Lynchburg, VA
VALDEZ, Manuel Ramon.; San Marcos, CA
VALDEZ, Manny Joseph; San Marcos, CA
VERNON, Elsa A.; Lorain, OH
WAGNER, Richard Wayne; New Orleans, LA
WAHLSTROM, Mark; Scottsdale, AZ
WALSH, Thomas D.; Arlington, VA
WALTERS, Ronald Neal; Charleston, WV
WEEDMAN, Jacob T.; Shawnee, OK
WEEKS, Dirk E.; Ft. Worth, TX
WEEKS, Don E.; Ft. Worth, TX
WELSCH, Wayne Robert; Roseville, CA
WHALEN, Edward T.; Flint, MI
WROTH, Peregrine; St. Louis, MO
ZEMAN, Paul G.; New York, NY
ZUPAN, Thomas; Portland, OR

Posted by torque at 11:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

structured settlement and adsense

Another big time word is "structured settlement" - with the top two Overture bides at $100. Funny, I don't even know what a structured settlement is. My guess from some quick surfing is that it has to do with financially managing lawsuit settlements. Here we go - from the commerce-database:

Structured Settlement definition a structured settlement describes a one time payment in lieu of receiving monthly or annual recurring payments. A structured settlement can apply to insurance policies, annuities, legal settlements, retirement plans or lottery winnings. Many people prefer to receive a one time lump sum payment to enable them to have more flexibility in deciding how to use the funds. Also known as a lump sum distribution..

In some cases, companies will buy your settlement payments by giving you a discounted lump sum. It is similar to the lottery. Ahh, I see - the operative quote is "Get tomorrow's money today". I get it. The people paying for these ads are the people buying cash streams. The forum at searchenginewatch has an interesting thread on this. Apparently, referrals to the companies that actually buy the settlement payments generate $3500-5000. I'm surprised there isn't a directory listing how much people will pay for what. I suppose it is kind of hard to quantify - but maybe not. Isn't it just a cash stream like any other cash stream? Calculate NPV and pay a discounted rate?

Posted by torque at 11:08 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 8, 2004

Hacktool.Rootkit

Thank goodness for Symantec AntiVirus. I got this notification this morning

Scan type: Realtime Protection Scan
Event: Virus Found!
Virus name: Hacktool.Rootkit
File: C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\A54BUXE1\sense[1].txt
Location: C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\A54BUXE1
Computer: BRAINWAVE
User: Owner
Action taken: Clean failed : Quarantine failed : Access denied
Date found: Wednesday, September 08, 2004 9:00:26 AM
How did this happen?

Posted by torque at 9:03 AM | Comments (39) | TrackBack

September 3, 2004

Why "enter the search term"

Why is "enter the search term" such a popular search term? Overture reports 175410 last month. That's wierd. So, if you happen to come to this site looking for "enter the search term", I'd love to know why.

Posted by torque at 4:26 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 1, 2004

Making tones with Matlab

I needed some different beeps for my auditory stimuli. Dave Johnson has a good skeleton at the MathWorks repository. It's actually pretty simple. Remember to change the sampling frequency if you need to get higher frequency tones.
function beep2(w,t)
%plays a short tone as an audible cue
%
%USAGE:
%    beep2
%    beep2(w)    specify frequency (200-1,000 Hz)
%    beep2(w,t)     "       "       and duration in seconds


fs=8192;  %sample freq in Hz


if (nargin == 0)
   w=1000;            %default
   t = [0:1/fs:.2];   %default
elseif (nargin == 1)
   t = [0:1/fs:.2];   %default
elseif (nargin == 2)
   t = [0:1/fs:t];  
end


%one possible wave form
wave=sin(2*pi*w*t); 


%play sound
sound(wave,fs);
Posted by torque at 10:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack