While we were in England, we got the train from Bournemouth to visit London. London was an important part of my life as soon as I was old enough to be allowed to travel there without adult supervision. Some people are naturally country folk, some people are city people; even though I grew up in small villages and quaint towns, that was never where I really wanted to be. I was curious to see how London had changed since I last saw it, nearly 10 years ago.

Quote of the week

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The Boston PD was doing the job the people of Boston hired them to do: Protecting the innocent. They knew that if those Mooninite Terrorists linked up, Boston would be a pile of ashes. You cannot escape the Quad Laser. Jumping is useless.” —Dirkus Maximus It’s also worth noting that someone actually made and planted fake pipe bombs in Boston in the last few days, but he wasn’t arrested.

In memoriam: Tower Records

Tower Records holds a special place in my heart. The store in Piccadilly Circus was one of the places I would try to visit every time I traveled to London. Back in the early 80s the Virgin Megastore on Oxford Street was the place for obscure music, but by 1990 they had jacked up the prices and cleared out the unpopular stuff. Tower kept the prices reasonable and had an unrivaled selection of imports and obscurities.

Strange but true

Boston and Dallas were designed by M.C. Escher. More such stuff at Also fun is to compare and contrast Newsweek international edition with Newsweek USA. Don’t forget the ongoing linkfeed.

The trouble with LiveJournal

[For more cases of LiveJournal Abuse Team behaving abusively, check out]

For several years I was a paying user of LiveJournal. Now I pay for web hosting and run my own content management system. It’s not by choice; this is the story.

In a nutshell, following an altercation with a racist troll, LiveJournal suspended my account without warning, even though I had not breached their Terms Of Service. They didn’t suspend the troll’s account–instead, they announced that (contrary to their written terms of service) racist comments were in fact perfectly acceptable on LiveJournal.

Attempts at compromise to resolve the issue were ignored and rejected, even when I offered to delete offending comments. The money I had paid for the service they were refusing to provide was not refunded.

Texas wildlife update

The other day I was playing Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow when I saw something move across the floor near the kitchen.

“Oh crap,” I thought, “Another cockroach.”

I got up and grabbed something to squash it with. But it wasn’t a cockroach—it was a tiny lizard. He was approximately floor colored; brown with light brown stripes. I carefully caught him in a spare perspex dish from the refrigerator. He turned out to have sucker feet, and crawled up the side of it. I let him out in the garden.

So, I think it’s time for an update on the local wildlife.

Four fried chickens and a Coke

I’m in Chicago to put signs on doors. No, really. IBM is setting up a swanky new customer briefing center, where major customers are given custom presentations, attend hands-on technical demonstrations, and are shown proof-of-concept systems. Outside each room will be a video screen. The plan is for each screen to show the room number and name, the title of whatever event is happening at that moment (or starting soon), the times of the event, and the name and e-mail address of the IBM contact responsible for the event.

Prius filter hack

Looked at the air conditioner filter in the Prius. Saw that it was encrusted with filth, covered in tufted seeds (dandelions?) and had collected a few leaves too. Checked the price of a replacement filter: $19 for a regular one, $35 for an electrostatic. Went to Target, got a 3M electrostatic filter for $4, cut it to fit the Prius’s filter holder. Job done. Surprisingly, Reader’s Digest ranks Austin as the 8th cleanest city in the USA.

Fun with Google Maps

I have just discovered the following nugget: Go to Google Maps Search for A smirking chimp in Washington DC Marvel at Google’s search technology. Another good one is to search for Communists in Boston. You read it here first.

So let me tell you about this house thing…

When we arrived in Austin at the end of October, we didn’t expect major problems finding a house. During our visit in April we had spent an afternoon with a real estate agent, and had seen a number of suitable houses. Sure enough, the first day we went house hunting, sara walked into a place and immediately thought “This is it.” We went back when I had finished work, and I agreed.