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Steve Elkins

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Pandora's Streaming [May. 7th, 2006|07:23 pm]
Steve Elkins
[Current Mood |penchanted]
[Current Music |The Skatalites Radio on Pandora]

A friend told me about Pandora this afternoon. A streaming service that chooses music similar to what you’ve already chosen for a particular station. The service accepts feedback on its choices and factors them into the subsequent music mixture. It allows multiple stations and station sharing. Pandora offers free streams with advertisements (TBD) and cheap ($36/year) streams without ads.
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Today in History [Apr. 30th, 2006|07:48 am]
Steve Elkins
[Current Mood |salmagundish]
[Current Music |zippo]

Which of these events matters most?
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Bad Bunnies [Apr. 16th, 2006|08:01 am]
Steve Elkins
[Current Mood |flippants]
[Current Music |insects & traffic]

Just past 5 this morning Jane and I woke up to the sound of suppressed crying. We went downstairs and found Anne distraught since the Easter Bunny hadn't come while she was sleeping. "We'll have to tell her," said Jane. "We forgot," said I. Inspired, Jane added something like this: "We forgot to put the basket outside before we went to bed. But you know what? It's still dark. You go upstairs and try to go back to sleep. I'll put it outside. I bet the Easter Bunny is waiting somewhere out there to fill your basket."

Before Easter dinner at the in-laws' house in Cary I read an article about Buddhism in National Geographic.
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Leprechaun Gold [Mar. 17th, 2006|08:47 am]
Steve Elkins
[Current Mood |anagrammatic]
[Current Music |radioioJam]

Yesterday A brought home an elementary (school) challenge: Given the letters in leprechaun gold to choose from, how many words can you make? Quite a few, since nearly half of the alphabet's available, as well as a couple of very useful duplicates. A thought of over a hundred before we made her hit the hay. J kept lifting her head from the pillow to record a few more. The Spring of the Ram helped me resist temptation, although under and ghoul did float up from my anagrammatic subconscious.
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Firefox Noses Ahead [Feb. 17th, 2006|08:54 pm]
Steve Elkins
[Current Mood |crepuscular]
[Current Music |ragtime]

When I learned that Google Talk was embedded in Gmail and that Safari wasn't included in the list of supported browsers, I felt moved to give Firefox another try. I downloaded the latest ( and started using it for Gmail. My anecdotal impression is that Firefox is much faster, so I may stick with it even when Safari support comes. On the other hand, Safari is still my default browser and I'm not inclined to change, not yet anyway.
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Live Orchestra Music [Oct. 15th, 2005|09:05 am]
Steve Elkins
[Current Mood |beamish]
[Current Music |French piano trios]

Listening to books in addition to reading them has made me viscerally aware of the effect that presentation has on art. Music was last night's example.

My sister and I heard the local orchestra perform Beethoven's 2nd piano concerto and Shostakovich's 11th symphony. Since I knew almost 2 weeks in advance I listened to each piece beforehand. I was familiar with the concerto already so I only played it a couple of times. Besides, I've been listening to Beethoven since I learned to walk. Shostakovich's work has been in my ears less than a decade and his 11th symphony was completely new to me. I didn't like it much at first but I warmed up to it the 3rd or 4th time. Mostly I listened to it at work with varying degrees of attention, sometimes through headphones so I could hear the quiet parts.

All the music was so much better live! Go hear an orchestra as soon as you can!
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FSM [Sep. 27th, 2005|08:51 pm]
Steve Elkins
[Current Mood |tard]
[Current Music |Dylan]

I know that the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is old news to many but it really cheered me up last week. A Wikipedia article has a brief account of the phenomenon.
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From Tiger [Jun. 26th, 2005|09:50 am]
Steve Elkins
[Current Mood |grudish]
[Current Music |Technicolor Web of Sound (]

This is from Tiger (10.4.1), the latest release of OS X from Apple. I upgraded a couple of weeks ago. The transition was fairly painless because I made a Firewire drive the intermediary. I divided it into 3 pieces, backing up to one and installing to another. When I was comfortable with the Firewire installation I transferred it to the internal drive.

Doing a clean install instead of an upgrade started me examining the software I use. The current lineup includes MacJournal, Audio Hijack Pro, Adium, DEVONthink Pro, and Chicken of the VNC. I use Lua for scripting. I keep my hand in Squeak and Croquet. I use iTunes to listen to Internet radio. Nowadays I like Terminal more than xterm because I've figured out how to get anti-aliased fonts and its integration with other Mac programs like TextEdit is superior. There's much more to say about the software I use but I have other fish to fry.
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Conference Room Site [Jun. 6th, 2005|08:33 pm]
Steve Elkins
[Current Mood |recumbentrecumbent]
[Current Music |that would be stretching the term]

Our conference rooms have intranet web pages, useful for figuring out information like who has what room reserved. Someone named Human Resources has quite a few for tomorrow and the next 2 days.
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Layoffs Will Continue Until [May. 15th, 2005|06:50 am]
Steve Elkins
[Current Mood |okayokay]
[Current Music |birdsong]

The lab where I work is scheduled to layoff 25-30% of its R&D people in June and the same again in September. My department isn't part of R&D but we develop and maintain software/hardware tools for them so this past Thursday our managers held a meeting to try convincing us that we won't be next. New business, new customers, diversification, and so on. However, having worked under threat since 2000, some turns of thought consider being passed over a mere postponement. The company is closing the lab, people say, or the company is spiraling into the abyss. This pair of layoffs can't be all/enough.

A gloomy atmosphere in store for the summer. It isn't always easy to adopt an outlook between hand wringing and being an optimist falling 10 stories. This morning I feel lucky to have a job I like sometimes and lazy for not seeking a better one, both at once.
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