July 29, 2005

Happy Birthday to me 2005


Twenty-four today. Here's to another good year.

In General

Posted at 07:42 PM | Permanent link

July 28, 2005

Thumbs Down on Echinacea

The New York Times is reporting that studies show the popular herbal supplement, Echinacea, to have no effect in preventing or treating colds.

"We should assume that echinacea does not work until somebody proves it does," he said. That, he added, "is the flip side of where we've been."

For some time now I've bought into the notion that Echinacea helps stave off the common cold, and have been taking it accordingly. I guess this puts a stop to that.

Although, I often wonder if I wouldn't be better off maintaining my ignorance of such subjects in order to preserve any placebo effect that I might be gaining the benefit of.

Any resident med / epidemiology students care to comment?

Here is the original news release from the Infectious Disease Society of America:

Echinacea Fails to Block Cold Virus Infection

In General

Posted at 11:55 PM | Permanent link

July 27, 2005

Fixing Garbage Characters in the Emacs Shell

In a recent entry, I mentioned that loading the default .bashrc file in Debian turns on terminal coloring. Unfortunately, if you ever use the the shell buffer in Emacs, this has the unfortunately concequence of outputting garbage characters any time you try to run ls:

wjstaige@joshstaiger:~$ ls ^[[0m^[[01;32m#.bash_profile#^[[0m ^[[01;34mMail^[[0m ^[[01;34mblosxom^[[0m ^[[01;34mdownloads^[[0m ^[[01;34mwebadmin^[[0m ^[[mwjstaige@joshstaiger:~$

The solution is to add the following to your .emacs file:

;;; Fix junk characters in shell mode
(add-hook 'shell-mode-hook

In Technology and Software

Posted at 07:29 PM | Permanent link

July 26, 2005


Forbes magazine recently ranked Raleigh Durham the #2 place in the nation to do business.

Unfortunately, a sidebar in the same section points out:

"Smart Growth America, a Washington, D.C. land use group, recently ranked the Raleigh-Durham area third worst of 83 metro areas overall for urban sprawl, just behind Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif. and Greensboro, N.C."


But, it's true. This town has way too many strip-malls, and getting anywhere requires way too much driving. Oh what I wouldn't give to be able to walk to (work | the grocery store | the bar). Just thinking about I-40 makes me want go to the bar right now.

In Local, Matters that are otherwise worthwhile

Posted at 10:07 PM | Permanent link

Planetary Photo Album

From the latest Perry Bible Fellowship strip:

planetary photo album comic strip

In General

Posted at 12:02 AM | Permanent link

July 25, 2005

Hitting the High Notes

"Five Antonio Salieris won't produce Mozart's Requiem. Ever. Not if they work for 100 years."

-- Joel Spolsky

Sweet Jesus, Joel has written a great article!

In Technology and Software

Posted at 11:01 PM | Permanent link

.bash_profile vs. .bashrc

One of the things I always have trouble remembering when working with linux is what is the correct ".profile" to edit when I want to automatically set environmental variables and such for my shell.

Included in Debian Woody are both .bash_profile, and .bashrc. I can never remember the difference between these two.

According to the bash man page, .bash_profile is executed for login shells, while .bashrc is executed for interactive non-login shells.

What I take this to mean is that when I login when using a console, either physically at the machine or using ssh, .bash_profile is executed.

However, if I launch a terminal within a windowing system such as KDE, launch the Emacs *shell* mode, or execute /bin/bash from within another terminal then .bashrc is executed.

At any rate, the point is generally moot because most people edit the files so one calls the other anyway.

To do this under Debian Woody, we open .bash_profile and uncomment the following lines (under the comment # include .bashrc if it exists):

if [ -f ~/.bashrc ]; then
   source ~/.bashrc

Now when we login to our machine from a console, .bashrc will get called. As a bonus, in Debian Woody, the defualt .bashrc turns on coloring when running the ls command. Nice!

In Technology and Software

Posted at 07:13 PM | Permanent link | Comments (17)

July 18, 2005

Raleigh Bloggers Meetup, Tuesday July 18th, 2005

Tomorrow (Tuesday, July 18th) we will resume the twice-monthly Raleigh/Cary Bloggers.

What: An open meeting to talk about blogging, podcasting & whatever's on your mind
When: Tues @ 6:30 p.m.
Where: Cafe Cyclo, in Cameron Village

2020 Cameron St
Raleigh, NC 27605 (map)
(919) 829-3773

See my (admittedly light) write-up regarding our last meetup to get a feel for the types of things we discuss.

Pass it on and hope to see you!

Dave will be there!

In Blogging

Posted at 07:18 PM | Permanent link

July 17, 2005

Killing Amazon.com MouseOver Popovers

Tower of London Executioner's Block

It's a situation that's all too common. You're shopping Amazon.com, for the latest latest Harry Potter book. You try to position your mouse pointer in the search input box... but - oops! You overshoot by half an inch. Your pointer sadly finds its way into the "See all 31 Product Categories tab". Uh oh...why is this huge white box now covering the entire search input form?

Who's in charge here? Jeff Bezos, I'm looking at you.

OnMouseOver popovers (including mousover drop-down menus) are one of the worst UI design elements in use on the web today. What's more disturbing is their use seems to be on the rise for navigation elements of popular sites. I expect this behavior from advertising sleaze. I even expect it from ESPN.com. But Amazon? Say it ain't so.

Thanks to Greasemonkey, we no longer have to live with this affliction.

I've written a short greasemonkey script that removes the most annoying popovers from Amazon.com.

As always, head to the project page for downloads and details.

Technorati tags: ,

In Projects, Technology and Software

Posted at 01:07 PM | Permanent link

July 13, 2005

Leon Bambrick on Windows Search

"Why is a dog asking me questions?
Who's been putting the mescaline in the Microsoft kool aid?
What if google used this approach?
Would google still be number one?"

-- Leon Bambrick

via Joel!

In General

Posted at 08:30 PM | Permanent link

July 02, 2005

Interchange 0.2

Interchange has been updated to accommodate a slight change to the Yahoo! Maps UI.

If you're currently using the script (or were until a few days ago), you'll probably want to grab the updated version.

Thanks to those who notified me of the problem.

In Projects

Posted at 11:34 PM | Permanent link

A little July 4th R&R

Sleepy Amy

I arrived in Cleveland last night after getting bumped from my original flight and having to take a detour through Detroit.

Unlike my experience at Christmas, this time around Continental was very apologetic and sent me on my way with $400 worth of free flights.

Anyway, I'm taking some time off and will be spending the 4th of July holiday and the rest of next week in Cleveland. I'll be in town until Saturday, July 10th. If you're still in the area, let's get together: 216-570-8595. I'd love to see ya.

In General

Posted at 05:47 PM | Permanent link