Legal Disclaimer

The opinions stated here in this ‘blog or elsewhere on my web site are my own. Any or all facts (real or imagined) are typically presented from my personal point of view. Furthermore these facts and opinions do not necessarily represent or even agree with those of my family, my employer, the US Government, any other organization, or entity (real or imagined). Any similarity (real or imagined) to other individuals, animals, places, items or concepts is purely coincidental.


Meta Dreaming and Sleeping 

Is meta dreaming and sleeping (dreams about dreaming and sleeping) a sign of deep intellectual self knowledge or just a sign that you need more sleep?


Upgraded to Ubuntu 

After several weeks / months of hacking around with Debian GNU/Linux trying to get my sound card working, I finally gave up and tried a Debian derivative called Ubuntu. I first downloaded a "live CD" version that allowed me to try Ubuntu without installing it. When Ubuntu booted off the "live CD" it recognized the sound card and correctly configured the network connection. So I downloaded the install CD, wiped out my previous Debian GNU/Linux and installed a fresh copy of Ubuntu version 5.10 "Breezy Badger".
It took longer that the 25 minutes they claimed, but it was still much faster then a full reinstall of Windows, especially since OpenOffice and Firefox are included in the Ubuntu dirtro.


Roast Turkey 

Roast Turkey
Originally uploaded by TSayles.

Cooked roast turkey for myself and my housemates. Also made Tom safe cranberry sauce, peas & pearl onions, mashed potatoes and fresh pineapple. Tried gravy, but the consistency wasn't quite right. Guess I still need more practice with gravy. More photos on my Flicker page.


Idea: Potlucks4Progress, Social Networking to Solve Social Problems 

Today I got around to listening to the November 20th edition of the Chris Pirillo show where Ponzi was interviewing Andru Edwards, about the recent inaugural Mind Camp. Near the end of the interview it occurred to me that many of the participants at this and similar events, like Gnomedex and the Portable Media Expo, would probably enjoy getting together more frequently even if it was on a smaller scale.
Thinking of my own geeky friends, one thing many of them have in common is that the like to cook and/or eat gourmet food, so we occasionally gather for potlucks. This lead me into thoughts about combining regular gatherings of intellectuals for shared food with some collaborative problem solving around particular topics.
The resulting fusion is an idea I call Potlucks4Progress, Social Networking to Solve Social Problems. What I have in mind is a website, probably, where registered users can:
At this site anonymous users could:
I'd like this to be a self supporting website taking in revenue from ads for gourmet food, cooking and hospitality supplies. Perhaps with a major sponsorship or two from a recipe sites or cooking supply chain, it might even be able to support me, as I'd love to quite my day job.
As always if you're interested in working on this or otherwise supporting the effort, please drop me an e-mail.


Emergency Water Supply for People and Horses 

Ed & Laura --

The amount of water a horse needs depends on the horse, what they're eating and how hard they're working. But five to fifteen gallons a day is typical. You can probably measure what your horses drink by checking the water meter just before you leave and just after you get back from a weekend away.

Assuming 20 gal/day for the two horses and other animals, and 2 gal/day/person, you're looking at a minimum of 420 gal or about 1600 liters or a little over 2 cubic yards of water to last two weeks.

A third or more of your 140 gallons for five people are probably in your hot water heater. You just have to remember to protect it in the event of a major earthquake. There's also water in your toilet tanks, again if you protect it after a quake.

If any of your neighbors' pools survive you can use that water for both humans and livestock, but you'll probably want to remove the chlorine first. Easiest way is to pass the water through a carbon filter, though you can also use aeration or chemical precipitation or boiling. Again this is a supply that may need to be protected in the immediate aftermath of a major quake. Fast action with a big sheet of plastic might save several hundred gallons of water for later use.

In a disaster situation you can make carbon filters with rinsed charcoal, probably from wood you burn rather than out of a bag. The effectiveness of carbon filters is dependent on chemical reactions so it's proportional to surface area and contact time. Depending on the source of water, carbon filters should generally be used in conjunction with particulate filtration and disinfection. Household bleach, without any laundry additives, is a very good water disinfectant so you want to have plenty in your earthquake supplies.

If you want to be self sufficient and prepared for the worst, you should probably look into getting one of those shipping pallet tanks. They typically have a nice steel cage that protects the tank. You might also look into lighting it with a mercury vapor lamp so the UV will keep stuff from growing in it. If you plumb it in right, you can probably flush the tank a couple of times a year with water you're now putting on your lawn. You also want to make sure that tank's valves are closed most of the time, as you don't want to loose the water if the tank breaks loose from it's plumbing.

Another option would be to plan on evacuating the kids and/or horses to some place with more water after a few days. It's much easier to reopen one or two lanes of a road then it is to repair major water systems.


Edward wrote:
How much water do horses need a day? I need 140 Gallons for people, plus all the animals. That’s a lot of water. That’s 265 two liter bottles just for the people for two weeks

From: Tom
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2005 9:30 AM
Subject: Re: Why God will Destroy Los Angeles and San Francisco
Mom --

The recommendations I recall for SoCal are two gallons per person per day for at least two days and preferably until the water systems are fixed.

Some of this can be from sources like your hot water heater and toilet tanks, but some of it should be stored in a place you can get to if your home in condemned and you can't go back inside.

If the aqueducts break, the estimates I recall are two weeks to fix. I think most of Glendale's water is from wells, so assuming that the water tables don't shift too much they shouldn't be down more then a day or two. You might have to go a few blocks to get water in Glendale and will probably have to wait in line, but it should be available.

The recommendations are a bit less here in Seattle as much of the year we can collect rain water. Still I keep emergency food, water and shelter in my Jeep.


Carol wrote:
now that's not humorous at all is Jim right do I need gallons of water

Tom wrote:
Mom & Others --

Call me a profit if you must, but God will also destroy much of the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco by earthquakes for pretty much the same reasons.


Idea: Home Shopping Scanner 

This is an idea I've been kicking around in various forms for almost 15 years now.

Basically I want a device with a bar code scanner that mounts near my kitchen garbage & recycling containers. As I use up a product and throw away the package, I would scan the UPC code and it would be added to an online shopping list. In up-scale markets this could be linked directly to an on-line grocery delivery service. But in most market areas (including mine), users should be able scan their preferred customer / club / reward card at a kiosk and have a shopping list print out of a receipt printer. A clever independent service provider could even perform price comparison and list display / update through mobile phones.

There are several way that such a Home Shopping Scanner could be designed. The easiest for consumers to install would probably be a stand alone wireless Ethernet device. Cheaper to build, but harder to install include, connecting via USB to a fridge mounted or under cabinet PC.


More quotes 

While I'm ticked off at the "Bible Thumpers" and feeling prophetic, I'll throw out a few more choice original quotes.
The Bible is a history book that hasn't been adequately revised in almost 2000 years.
God's truest testament is his creation, the universe. Its laws of physics are his commandments and evolution is one of his most basic tools.
In the KJV, Matthew 5:5 has a typo and should read, "Blessed are the Geek: for they shall inherit the earth." Supporting evidence can be seen in by fixing the same typo in Psalms 25 & 37. Think about it. Persecution. Celibacy. Bill Gates. It makes sense.

Why God will Distroy Los Angeles and San Francisco 

Mom & Others --

Call me a prophit if you must, but God will also destroy much of the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco by earthquakes for pretty much the same reasons.


Why God Destroyed New Orleans 

Mom --

Self serving BS and misinformation like the Anne Graham quote you forwarded to me [and to many others] is why I don't watch mainstream media any more. 

Katrina devastating New Orleans and the associated loss of life had absolutely no link what so ever with the issues around the separation of Church and State.

The more likely answer is that God was simply punishing the idiots who live in New Orleans for building a city in a stupid place.  The present location of the city should have been abandoned after the 1909 & 1915 hurricanes.  Assuming that the city keeps getting rebuilt in the same stupid location, God will keep destroying it by hurricanes about once every hundred years.

The blessing and protection that God gives us is that the universe obeys the laws of physics.  Those who ignore them/him suffer. Ce la vie, ce la mort. 

No amount of prayer in schools or government sanctioning of a specific religion will over time save the present location of New Orleans from hurricane flooding.  However, prayer in schools and/or government sanctioning of a specific religion will over time lead to repression of basic human freedoms. 


BTW -- This is going up on my 'blog at http://www.soot-n-smoke/tsayles

Carol wrote:
Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her
"How could God let something like this Happen?" (regarding Katrina)

Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response.She said,
"I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are,
but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. 
And being the gentleman He is, 
I believe  He has calmly backed out.
How can we expect God to give us His blessing
and His protection if we demand
He leave us alone?"


Idea Preview: GUSoHuC, Dealing with Diametrically opposed Values/Belief Systems 

One of the primary goals of the GUSoHuC would be to showcase those areas where there is a strong consensus.

Another, but less prominent goal would be, in cases where there are significant and diametrically opposed values/belief systems, provide a forum for discussion and consensus building. In these cases, GUSoHuC, will/should do the following. First, much like how Wikipedia handles controversial articles, acknowledge and tag that there are opposing points of view. Second narrow the scope of the dispute as much as possible using formal consensus techniques. And finally present concurring and dissenting points of view in a structured way that uses social networking techniques rank the arguments pro and con.


Idea Preview: the Grand Unified Scriptures of Human Culture 

Call it divine inspiration or maybe just the logical conjunction of several disparate concepts, but last week I began formulating the following idea:
Humanity needs a living document in which to collect the combined wisdom from the various world religions and branches of sciences.
The Wikipedia is already doing this for human knowledge by applying open source technologies and techniques to the capture and documentation of facts in the form of encyclopedia articles. The time is right for us to begin similar work with human wisdom, probably in some form of scripture.

I'm still working on fleshing out many of the details and committing this idea, along with its associated ideas into words suitable for publication. Hopefully I'll find time to work on this among my many other activities.

Idea: Distributed Family / Home Backup Networks 

With cheap used PCs running various flavors of Linux, inexpensive large hard drives and widely available broadband Internet connections, it ought to be relatively easy to set up Distributed Family / Home Backup Networks.

Basically I want to take a $75 used PC, throw a new $100 hard drive in it, plug it in to my home network and boot it off a Linux live CD. I'd like configure this system through a web interface, much like I configure other appliances on my home network. The main task of this system would be to automatically mirror data shared from my desktop and laptop computers.

I'd also like to install an identical node on my parent's home network to back up data from their computers and provide an off-site mirror of my data. (Okay maybe it needs two $100 hard drives.) Scale this up to a few more nodes, say a couple of friends and another relative or two, and we can start doing some RAID like economies by splitting remote mirrors across several nodes, with sufficient redundancy to recover the local node if a remote node or two is lost or off-line.

I think that the configuration parameters would need to include:
Other interesting little details I've thought of include:
I'd love to set something like this up on my own, but I'm still too much of a Linux newbie. So if there is anyone that would like to help me with this please let me know.

Once the software is up and running maybe someone like Linksys might be interested in selling a true appliance version off of retail shelves. Maybe a shoe box size device with power and Ethernet connections, hard disk, CD-RW drive, and a configuration CD.


linux poster 

Originally uploaded by xxmoexx.

Sex sells, even for open source.


Gnomedex and Woodstock 

In a recent mailing list post about planning for Gnomedex 2006, J.D. Lasica exclaimed:
"Four-day conference?! What is this, Woodstock?"
My gut reaction and reply was:
Yes, this is our Woodstock. Announcer: "Don't upload big files." = Announcer: "Don't take the brown acid."
Upon digging a bit deeper, by Googling on "brown acid Woodstock" I found this page talking about the "new sense of community" seen demonstrated at Woodstock. It sounds very similar to what's going on at and around Gnomedex.

So if Gnomedex is the Woodstock of our times, does this imply any or all of the following?
I'm sure there are many more, but I'm tired and want to go to bed. So post them in the comments.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.
History repeats itself.