“Restore my faith in humanity”

Crazybob said it. Greg Stein was mugged last week, as most ASF folks know by now. Greg is also an amazing human being, and totally one not to deserve such treatment – and one who would never have let this happen if he hadn’t already been on crutches.
(Stupid humor begins) Heck, I can picture a celebrity deathmatch between Greg and a mugger and a bottle of scotch. Greg drinks the scotch, gives the bottle to the mugger, and the fight begins. Although injured and bleeding, Greg comes out victorious with the mugger lying broken on the floor, screaming “No more! No more! I promise never to svn co the trunk again! Please make it stop!” (Stupid humor ends)
If you don’t know Greg, you’ll just have to trust me that this guy deserves better. In fact several people have gotten together a Google group to accept donations (authorized by Greg) to ease Greg’s recuperation and try, in a small way, to give him back a tiny bit of the code and love he’s given to the world.

Is it a role, or a stereotype?

I was sort-of wondering that last week. While being sick is no fun, it’s even worse when it’s one of your loved ones who is sick. Roxanne was sick last week, and while it’s a completely normal childhood cold virus, it also gives you fever and mouth sores. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen her that miserable in all of her life – well, at least all of her life when she had the mental capacity to say how miserable she is.
Actually, after Wednesday, she didn’t talk much since her mouth hurt. Unfortunately for me she also didn’t eat anything or even drink much, even her favorite things. A quick visit to the pediatrician – and a follow-up call at the end of the day – alleviated my fears about dehydration in theory but not completely in fact. Not only wouldn’t she eat, for most of Thursday she just looked plain miserable.
But it was on Wednesday night I felt my role of being a father slipping into a stereotype. For a variety of reasons Amy ended up spending part of the day taking care of her while I was at work. When I got home, Amy stayed to take care of her while I got sent right back out to go shopping. In this case it worked perfectly for our roles of how and when each of us are best at taking care of Roxanne, but it also felt like the cheap stereotype of the mom staying in the cave with the kid and the dad going out to hunt the yaks.
Luckily, not only did I find a small plastic dinosaur toy for her – the one thing she asked for when I went grocery shopping (not food or drink, but a toy) – I also found our favorite cookie bakery Lakota actually had dinosaur shaped cookies that day! I was briefly a hero when I returned, which lasted until we tried to get her to drink something again. We carefully wrapped the cookie up for her for Friday when her mouth was finally feeling up to eating.

In any case, I would still (or would now) hunt her a yak for her supper.

Open source user registration/listing software?

I have this grand idea to start a second blog, called simply enough, Questions. It’s where I’d put all those random little questions that I’m curious about, but don’t necessarily have the time or impetus at the moment to track them down.
I’m tempted to keep it in this blog, but I’m not sure I want to bore all my readers with my zillions of little punderings, like why is the sky blue (I know that one, actually), how come my WordPress setup doesn’t quite do X right, and why does Domino insist on doing Y even when you tell it not to. See, most of them are pretty geeky, and not terribly interesting.
They are, however, interesting to me, and I figure I should give technology a chance to help me answer them. Heck, even without trying I have a fair number of readers. And that includes people beyond old friends and PlanetApache feeds – just look at the comments on my Major Mudd post. So why not take the one in a million chance that one of my readers happens to know the answer to my Questions off the top of their head?

Oh, I see you’ve noticed that I haven’t given you any details about the actual Question I’m meaning to ask in this post, haven’t you? Well, here goes:

I need an open source data driven website ‘thing’. Basically, I run curcuru.com, and have long wanted it to serve as a homepage for Curcuru’s worldwide (there aren’t that many of us). I figure the simplest thing is a basic web form where anyone can register themselves as a Curcuru, including their name, a short paragraph about who/where they are, and an optional URL. I should also have a checkbox for business or personal listings.
Obviously, it’ll need a CAPTCHA or similar spam-defeating technology. I’d also love a simple way to plugin the URLs that are submitted to be checked against obvious spam sites, like Akismet does so wonderfully for WordPress.
Then there’d be a simple administrative page that let’s me mark entries as accepted or not. Accepted entries then get displayed in a simple list page, that can serve as a home link page for anyone named Curcuru. Hopefully this might engender a few familial contacts between our far-flung relatives – we’re pretty sure we’re all related through common ancestors in the Mediterranean.
I have MySQL, PHP 4 & 5, Perl, python, and some other basic Unix stuff available on my hosting account. Given all that, do any of my readers have great ideas of some turnkey system I could install to do the above?
Yes, I know, I’m supposed to have a little geek cred, and while I do know how to read PHP (one of the more obvious solutions), I really don’t have the mental energy to go build this myself right now. And I do have this strange need to host the solution myself, so I don’t just want to build a Ning or other insta-social website from any of the many great providers these days.
Ideas?

He may have left the building..

.. But He’s always in our radios, televisions, hearts, and occasionally in our sight. Yes, I have seen Elvis, although not recently, relaxing on the seashore.


Dear Lexington Town Planners:
Perhaps it wasn’t the wisest idea to have three of the main arteries into town of both local traffic and commuters simultaneously under construction. A few mornings recently have been pretty bad trying to drive anywhere in Lexington (MA, of course). I know, you need to get it done before 1) school starts and/or 2) winter strikes, but still, it’s kind of a mess still.


Thanks B!
We all had a mostly wonderful weekend visiting a friend at their beautiful house in the country. Roxanne was even amazingly well behaved, probably because there were so many new places to run around and play in. It’s a shame our after-lunch was so, er, bumpy, but we’re certainly looking forward to visiting again, I hope!


These notes brought to you by:
beautiful summer weather (not over 100F, thankfully) and double-strength iced coffee. More regular programming will resume shortly; I have a number of mental drafts to complete which should provide regular readers with some amusement.

Lots of exciting stuff I can’t talk about

Actually I probably could talk about the bulk of my experiences at the recent Extreme Blue Expo this week, filing off the details of any confidential business material. But I tend to simply not blog about work issues, so I don’t have to worry about confidential stuff or about what kinds of comments I make about my work.
It was a great Expo though. Expo is the chance for all the Extreme Blue summer interns in the US and Canada to come to the ILC – literally next door to CHQ – and show off their projects. The presentations are typically amazing, and sometimes they’re even better than that. The energy level is high, and it’s both a great business networking day and a whole lotta fun. And almost unbelievably, the weather was nice this year, instead of being the traditional New York hot and humid.
Unfortunately the energy level usually drops after you finish travelling home – even though it was only a 3 1/2 hour drive home, I was pretty wiped out the next day. But it was well worth the trip, and the feedback from all levels of participants was that it was a great event.