Archive for June, 2005

Touching Fenders

June 30, 2005

Today at lunch I went to Home Depot to pick up a few things for around the house and McDonald’s to have a Big Mac since I haven’t had one in I-don’t-know-how-long.

As I am turning off the Loop 101 frontage road and on to Raintree. As is often the case, it’s hard to see oncoming Raintree traffic so I started and had to stop just as quickly.

Of course, the car behind me thought I was going to floor it or something because I got a nice little jolt. I said a quick curse about the perils of driving in Scottsdale—a full explication of which will have to wait for a future entry though I’ve touched on it in the past—and motioned for the car to pull over. (I’m constantly afraid that someone won’t pull over. Knowing myself, I know that I’d follow them to the ends of the earth and would probably end up getting a severe beating from the occupant.)

Luckily, the driver did. We checked our vehicles for damage and discovered that there wasn’t any. In these situations (which have sadly been all too frequent), my preferred course of action is to say, “Looks fine by me” and get moving. Ol’ Darlene, apparently less familiar with the post-fender–bender customs, decided that she wanted to network or something.

After telling her that we’re good to go, she let’s me know that I’m now in her “prayer ring” or something. She also effusively thanked me for “getting her back to where she should be.” I wasn’t particularly clear if she meant pulled off to the side of Raintree Drive, reality, or standing there wanting to shake my hand. Frankly, I don’t want to know.

If I had been on my game, I would have asked whether she was a Californian so as to confirm my suspicions and add a data point to my developing hypothesis about the resettlement of Arizona by them. Sure our housing prices are through the roof but we get space-cadet drivers, environmentalism, and New Age garbage. Next thing you know, they’ll be electing Alice Cooper governor in a special recall election of Janet Napolitano.


LIKE @whatever

June 30, 2005

Phew, just spent some time trying to get a parameter to work with a LIKE and wildcards in the WHERE clause of a SELECT. I’m creating a stored procedure for SQL Server 2000.

For example, I wanted something like this:

SELECT * FROM table WHERE no_column_in_particular LIKE ‘%@param%’

But it would always return all the rows, so I knew that I was getting doing something like “LIKE ‘%%'” I tried all sorts of different methods like wrapping the parameter in brackets. I finally found the answer in this SQL Server Magazine forum entry.

The solution is to use string concatenation or add it to the parameter before running the SELECT:

SELECT * FROM table WHERE no_column_in_particular LIKE ‘%’ + @param + ‘%’


SET @param = ‘%’ + @param + ‘%’

I’m not sure if the former is considered dynamic SQL in crafting the plan, but if it is then the latter might be higher performing. IANADBA.

Not Everything in Caps is an Acronym

June 30, 2005

I just read a statement that the scanner protocol called TWAIN stood for “Technology Without A Name” and I thought, “Wow, that’s an awesome fact.” Being the curious person I am, I decided to investigate.

Sadly, it’s false and the official site confirms that it’s really just acronym-looking.

[UPDATE: I probably should have just went to Wikipedia.]

[UPDATE 2: Though a case could certainly be made that PCMCIA stands for “People Can’t Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms.”]

Free Earth

June 28, 2005

Google Earth is now available and it’s free. Only for Windows right now, though the download page says that they’re working on Macintosh support.

[UPDATE: Ooo, there’s even virtual sightseeing. {via}]

[UPDATE (6/29/05): Ooo, Google Maps now has an official API.]

[UPDATE (6/30/05): Google search for Google Maps API. It only shows up in the Sponsored Links, which I didn’t even see for awhile.]

Giddy Up, Little Domains

June 28, 2005

Wow! At one point just before it became a domain registrar, Go Daddy was located in a house on an old ranch in Cave Creek. Another choice tidbit from that memoir: Bob Parsons contemplated becoming a “stick man on a craps table” or a valet. Luckily, business improved and it became a raging success.

For me, the best piece of advice—and I sometimes forget this—was the following:

I remembered something my father used to say. He said “A smart dog chews his own bone.” Basically, that meant to do what you know how to do. And for me that meant developing software or intellectual property.

[NOTE: The views expressed on this website/weblog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Go Daddy Software, Inc.]


June 27, 2005

I ❤ and I ❤ PDFs, so you’d think that Yummy would be a natural match for me. With the advent of filetype matching, I don’t see much advantage over’s implementation except that it’s got thumbnails and page counts. That’s not much and it’s especially not enough to artificially separate out my PDF bookmarks in some sort of virtual recycling waste of time.

The advantage of a social bookmarking service is that it’s social: there’s lots of people contributing lots of bookmarks and the scale is the value. All of the knockoffs try to add a feature here and a feature there, but they’re little more than window dressing if there’s not a huge user base behind them. And there likely won’t be a huge user base behind them ever because you only need one bookmarking service and is it for now (okay, there’s Furl too but I’ve never met anyone who’s used or even heard of it).

Here are my bookmarks, if you’re interested.


June 26, 2005

I spoke with my friend Larry yesterday and the conversation turned, as it seems to inevitably do, to property rights and eminent domain (what, you don’t talk to your friends about governmental abrogation of private property?) I asked his thoughts on the Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. New London because he’s not only a very smart guy, he’s a property rights attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation.

So we’re talking about it, but he never mentions that’s he got a great op-ed about the subject out and available. I don’t know if he’s terribly modest or what, but I would think that I don’t need to read his legal opinions from a search engine. Geesh!

Long story short—I know, that ship has sailed—he thinks that Kelo‘s bad but actually a somewhat heartening decision in that the last court decision on eminent domain was unanimous. Another guy said much the same thing today.

I’m glad that the decision wasn’t unanimous and I’m glad that it was deadlocked, but I still can’t get too excited about Kelo since it is the Supreme Court’s first peep since 1984. They did side with government over the individual—that’s bad, by the way—and it still does give local governments hope.

I know from my political science courses that 5-4 decisions are generally considered troublesome in giving other courts clear ideas of what the justices are thinking. It very well could be that this could signal the Court’s willingness to take on property rights cases and that future additions to the Court could make future cases 5-4 splits in our favor (or, dare I dream, a unanimous decision).

At any rate, Kelo has given increasing visibility to the Institute for Justice since they were the attorneys who brought it up to the Supreme Court. That can only be a good thing since it looks like they’ve got plenty of other excellent cases to run through Washington, D.C. if necessary.

[UPDATE: Crap, it’s already started being used as an excuse.]

[UPDATE 2: Phew, the Arizona Constitution has a pretty stringent definition of a private use for which a taking may occur. And the Institute for Justice prevailed here in a big way just two years ago. {via]

[UPDATE (6/28/05]): Logan Darrow Clements wants to build a hotel called The Lost Liberty Hotel by seizing Supreme Court Justice David Souter’s New Hampshire home through eminent domain. Clements, erstwhile California gubernatorial candidate, plans to raise funds from pro-liberty people if he can get the property seized. It reminds me of a wacko Objectivist—and I consider Clements to fit the bill—I knew who wanted to form a Satanic rock band and then play pro-freedom, pro-Objectivist songs once he got people to his concert. You don’t advance your principles or cause by actively subverting them. Ever. Even if it’s ironic or just desserts.]

[UPDATE (8/22/2005): The loony is, apparently, at it again. He’s now visited Souter’s Weare house, where he left a copy of Atlas Shrugged and a t-shirt. After reading more of his bio, I realized that I’ve met the man and actually sat next to him on a bus on the way to an Objectivist conference. I guess my first impression was right.]

Copying, Er, I Mean Innovating

June 26, 2005

Separated at birth?

Safari RSS and Internet Explorer 7 RSS


Online Outlining

June 17, 2005

I can’t believe I never mentioned Sproutliner before. It’s a free, online outlining web app that’s surprisingly robust. It gets even better because its creator open-sourced it recently. I liked the hosted option, but it’s very openness made me unable to use it for sensitive matters. Now I can host it on my own site, put it behind some authentication, and use it to my heart’s content.

It took a little doing because I didn’t install it into the root of my domain. The developer made it so that every link and reference was root relative, i.e., “/some-path/some-file.php”. There were a lot of those references, so it took awhile to hunt them down—a global replace didn’t work, unfortunately—and make them plain ol’ relative.

That’s Debatable

June 16, 2005

FYI: an argument is moot when those arguing should be mute. If you can’t get these straight, may I recommend the lovely “debatable?”

[UPDATE (6/17/05): “Irrelevant” would also work in some contexts.]