Tuesday, 08 March 2005

Looks like BitTorrent v4 has been released. New clients for Windows, Mac and Linux.

From the release notes:

2005-03-07: 4.0.0 is now available.
Changes since the last stable release:

  • All new queue-based user interface
  • Many options are now modifiable from the interface, including upload rate
  • Lots of other interface improvements
  • Extra stats are visible, for those who like it
  • Remembers what it was doing across restarts
  • New .torrent maker "btmaketorrentgui" replaces "btcompletedir"
  • Better performance, as always
  • License has changed to the BitTorrent Open Source License
  • Torrent fields are correctly created and interpreted as utf8
  • Too many little things to list

A few technical notes, for those interested:

  • Single port: launchmany can seed and client can download many files from a single port and thread
  • Interface now uses GTK instead of wxWidgets
  • BitTorrent packets are marked as bulk data to make traffic shaping easier

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Tuesday, 08 March 2005 22:02:59 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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I was driving home from work today, crossed over Cornelius Pass Road and onto Highway 30. As I drove down the road I caught a glimpse of Mt. St. Helens, with what looked to be a standard-fare steam plume, typical of what one sees popping over the crater these days, coming out of it. The mountain dropped out of view behind some trees as I drove, and when I rounded a corner and saw it again a few minutes later, I noticed the plume was growing. Within a couple of minutes the plume was thousands of feet in the air. Huge. Pretty amazing really.

Anyhow, for what it's worth, here is my not-so-scientific observation...

First of all, the white cloud looked to be mostly a whole lot of steam. Some darker material appeared to be dropping over to the east of the mountain from the cloud, but honestly it's hard to tell shadows from falling material. The National Weather Service issued an ash-fall warning for that area.

Helens_blows200x160  050308usgs_helens

(Photos from KGW and USGS)

It looked like a bomb hit for a while, a big bulb of a cloud rising straight up from the crater. Then the wind started to push it to the east, and eventually it dropped and started to dissipate.

In my super-geek analysis, I can tell you that this was probably the new dome area involved, rather than the old dome. No surprise there. Why do I say that? Easy. It's a complete guesstimate...

Here is the new dome's seismograph, going offline first (click for large image):


...and here is the old dome's seismograph, knocked offline later than the new dome equipment:


Pretty amazing sight this evening. Unfortunately, I didn't have my good camera with me, but others have done plenty to photograph it.

UPDATE: USGS web site details and images on March 8 eruption.

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Mt. St. Helens
Tuesday, 08 March 2005 19:05:53 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Via HineSight: On Nightline this evening, the subject matter will be blogs and bloggers and blogging.

Is it just a fad? Is it simply a medium? Is it a revolution? Is it nothing, really? It all depends who you ask. It will be interesting to see what Nightline's take is...

Tonight's piece is a fascinating one. Turns out that as John and producer Elissa Rubin were conducting interviews with bloggers, they were being blogged. The bloggers had some interesting opinions, to say the least. And as this program airs (and this e-mail is read by viewers), there's no doubt that bloggers will blog about it...

Umm, yeah. Heh.

So what are blogs? Turns out that although 8 million have created blogs, 62 percent of Americans who use the Internet don't know what a blog is. That's according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. And in an age where blogs are fundamentally changing the nature of news, we thought we'd tell you the story about the beast of blogging...

Check your local ABC affiliate's listings, but it's probably right after your late news.


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Tuesday, 08 March 2005 12:39:57 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 07 March 2005

I'm always up for a good laugh, and today a coworker showed me a fun web site called Atom Smasher's Error Message Generator, where you can generate visual renditions of your own twisted Windows error messages.

Get a little creative with this stuff and you'll quickly find yourself participating in email threads with friends, trying to best each other in the geek-humor department.

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Geek Out | Humor | Random Stuff
Monday, 07 March 2005 23:29:37 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Microsoft Knowledge Base Email AlertzIf you've ever used Microsoft's online support knowledge base, you know how much information is available there, and how hard it can be to find information you're looking for. On top of that, how are you to know when new articles are added about the technologies that you care about?

For a few years now, I have used a free online service called KBAlertz to keep track of KB articles that are released about the Microsoft servers and apps I deal with every day. I get email notifications whenever new KB information is published in areas like Office, Exchange, SharePoint, SQL, LCS, Windows Server, Windows XP - you name it. Whatever topics you choose, you can stay informed.

There are three primary ways to get the info you want and need from KBAlertz: Browsing/searching, email and RSS feeds.

Personally, I subscribe to the site's email alerts and get them on a regular basis whenever new items that match my criteria are discovered. The digest-formatted HTML emails contain all the new articles since the last check, and are nicely formatted and easy to use.

For a few key technologies I also subscribe to feeds in my RSS reader, FeedDemon, where I can easily catalog and search through them.

For example, let's say I am interested (as I am) in keeping on top of all the latest knowledge base info about IIS 6. This web page lists the latest articles, and this Subscribe to the RSS feed button, which you find at the top of each technology's page, let's me subscribe to the IIS 6 RSS feed for new updates.

Signing up for the email alertz is easy and it's free - just quickly create an account and start checking the boxes next to the topics you are interested in. You can choose from the whole gamut of Microsoft technologies.

The Microsoft Knowledge base is cool, and it's a great source of info. KBAlertz just makes it better.

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Monday, 07 March 2005 18:38:20 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Sunday, 06 March 2005

Update on my back surgery stuff for the four or five of you who are following and care...

Well, since my back surgery procedure things in December, I have had some relief from the pain I was experiencing. I even had a couple of days where I felt better than I can ever remember feeling.

But overall, while things are certainly better in many ways, overall it's not been better enough, if you will, to call it resolved. I have been doing physical therapy for two full months and the pain has increased and decreased somewhat a number of times. But overall, it's still a problem - weakness in both legs, pain reaching from my back into my legs and feet, and enough pain to keep me up at night and severely limit my ability to do the regular day-to-day things I need (and want) to do in life.

The procedure that was done in December was a minimally-invasive procedure, in which the doc went inside the L5/S1 disc and removed some of the material there, which was to allow some of the bulging material that is impinging on my spine to be reduced, relieving pressure on the spinal nerves, and therefore relieving pain. Unfortunately, while it's better at times than it was, it's still a pretty serious problem.

So, the doc ordered a new MRI a couple weeks ago. We saw the films the other day. And it looks like its time to see another surgeon. At least this surgeon says so.

Unfortunately, the images are not all that good. The disc appears to have extruded more material at some point, so the problem and pain are in the same general location (same joint), and it feels and acts very much like what I was experiencing before the procedure, except that the pain moves from one leg to another somewhat regularly. I guess after 12 or so years of wear and tear, this is just not going to be a simple process.

So, off to a few more docs I go. The minimally invasive route was, I think, worth it for a first step, but now it's time to see what - if anything - can be done to better solve the problem. My current doc has his recommendations (microsurgical discectomy to cut out and remove the herniation), and we'll see what other docs think is the best thing to do.

I just finished a 6-day pack or methylprednisolone, which is a super-anti-inflammatory thing. For a couple of days, when the daily dose was high, I felt fairly okay. Now that it's all gone and all I am taking is the regular anti-inflammatory stuff, it's back to being pretty darned uncomfortable and at times pretty painful.

I don't expect to be made completely better - not at all. But it would be nice to be able to lean over the sink when I wash my hands and brush my teeth, or to be able to bend over to put on my socks and whatnot. Not to mention the fact that things like pulling weeds in the garden can't last for more than 5 or 10 minutes on a good day, and if I actually decide to pull the weeds, I'll pay for it for days.

Again, I am glad I went with the minimally invasive route first. It has helped me overall, and generally speaking I am in somewhat less pain, which is a good thing. I'll just have to move on from here and see what's the next best thing to do.

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Kineflex Artificial Disc Surgery | Personal Stories
Sunday, 06 March 2005 15:49:46 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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