Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Time fo a New Title

So here I am wasting valuable sleep away browsing random blogs on blogger. Seems that about 40% of them are spam blogs (which I have been flagging as objectionable) as I come across them), 20% are real blogs with a real person behind them writing away, and the other 40% have a title with Random in them.

Since everyone and their mother has a blog named Random this or My Random that, I've decided it's time for a change.

So for now, I've temporarily changed it to the completely original "Dave's Blog". While the new title probably won't be as original as I think it will be, it will hopefully fool myself into thinking I am clever for a few weeks at least.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Google Talk

So now we've got another instant messaging account to manage. That makes it 5 now for me. MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, Skype and now Google Talk. Luckily I use GAIM to manage all of my accounts except for Skype so I only have to run one application to log into most of those services.

Most messenging services are similar now in their functionality. Skype has the benefit of also providing PC to Phone and Phone to PC calls for a very reasonable price, although I have often found the quality of those calls to be somewhat lacking. PC to PC calls always seem to be very good, as long as they don't get bounced around too many peers.

Skype has the benefit of encrypting all instant messages as well as voice calls. None of the other messengers support that. Although in Google's FAQ they do mention that they plan on adding encryption before before making a production release.

Google has the advantage of being built over open protocols having built their service using the Jabber protcol.

It'll be interesting to see what Google's real plans are for Talk. They have to integrate it into their advertising program somehow, will you start seeing Google ads in your Google Talk program with targeted ads regarding whatever you are messenging about? I imagine that as long as they keep it built on Jabber, they will have to add some convincing features into their client to keep people using that instead of some other Jabber compatible client if the ads get too intrusive.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

This Weekend

This weekend, Wendy and I drove up to the Bay Area to visit our newly engaged friends Raheleh and Pedram who were throwing an engagement party. It was held at Rah's parent's house and we had a great time! The place was packed with lots of family, friends and food, and everyone was celebrating the couple.

The party was pretty extravagant, Wendy and I thought it could easily have substituted for the actual wedding ceremony! There was a family exchanging of gifts, cake cutting, lots of flowers and (soon-to-be) bride and groom cake feeding! I can only imagine what the actual wedding will be like, I can't wait!

My dad recently got a new car, a Toyota Prius to replace his aging Camry. Actually, his Camry is going to go to my sister Denise and her car, which is about to fall apart, is going to the scrapyard.

I put about 100 miles on the Prius over the weekend driving to and from Rah's parent's along with a visit to San Francisco to help my good friend Tristan get moved in for his first year at USF Law. Overall, the car is nice to drive and certainly gets you from point A to B while getting very good gas mileage.

Coming out of my sporty WRX there were a number of things I wasn't quite satisfied with. The first thing I noticed was how high and hard the seats feel. I felt like I was sitting on an actual chair while driving. I would have preferred the seat to be at least a few inches shorter and the seats to have at least a little bit of side bolstering. It was way too easy to slide out of the seat going even a little fast around corners.

The next thing on the list was the very distracting and obstructive view out the rear view mirror. The rear hatch has a support going right across the middle third of the viewable area. You can still see OK out the back once you get used to it, but it is distracting.

Finally, the steering wheel feels a bit rubbery. I guess am spoiled by the leather wrapped MOMO wheel that is in my WRX.

I was suprised to find that the Prius seems to have plenty of pep when you need it, although I never floored it (my dad warned me multiple times to take it easy as it's still breaking in) the times I got into the gas pedal a bit the engine kicked in and the CVT let the engine rev up and make a decent amount of power. Going up and down the hills of San Francisco was never a problem.

My favorite part of the car is watching either the Energy Monitor or Energy Consumption screens on the center touch screen display. With one of these two screens running you can see in real time what mileage you are currently getting, where the car is getting power from (engine, battery) or if the car is using regenerative braking, as well as the mileage you've been getting for the past 30 minutes in 5 minute intervals. With these screens on, you quickly become obsessed with trying to get the highest mileage you can. It doesn't take long to figure out that speeds above 70mph will start hurting your mileage significantly as well as being too heavy with the right foot. During my driving, my mileage seemed to hover right around 50 miles per gallon.

All in all, the Prius is a capable and comfortable car and would work very well wherever you need to get from point A to B as efficiently as possible. It's no suprise to me that Toyota is having trouble keeping these cars on the lots! Now if they could build one that is a bit sportier they might convince me to get one, too.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005 redirecting to

We've had the weirdest thing happen to us at work the past couple days. Going to redirects us to Even when just using a telnet client to manually make the request it happens, so I'm sure it's not just cookies. And clicking on Go to still leaves me with a page that says Go to Google New Zealand. Weird!

Here's the output from the telnet session if anyone is interested (some lines are broken up so that they fit in the blogger template:
# telnet 80
Connected to
Escape character is '^]'.
GET / HTTP/1.0

HTTP/1.0 302 Found
Location: S%3D782JnXlZiZszEbUZ&prev=/
Set-Cookie: PREF=ID=155668e6e3831c79:CR=1:TM=1123089653:LM=1123089653:S=xcmaIuHxEGXCUaQX; expires=Sun, 17-Jan-2038 19:14:07 GMT; path=/;
Content-Type: text/html
Server: GWS/2.1
Content-Length: 217
Date: Wed, 03 Aug 2005 17:20:53 GMT
Connection: Keep-Alive

<H1>302 Moved</H1>
The document has moved
<A HREF=" S%3D782JnXlZiZszEbUZ&prev=/">here</A>.
Connection closed by foreign host.
My best guess is that google does some sort of IP address lookup to guess what country you are in and has got our IP address range wrong!

Maybe the Gangsta Programma can help explain, he works at Google.

Random Bulk Emails

I've been getting some weird bulk email in my gmail account lately. One is from an organization called SPAMIS or Strategic Partnership Against Microsoft Illegal Spam. A quick google search turned up this randomlog blog entry. Apparently they've had their domains suspended so they're nothing to worry about.

Another strange email going around is the Gouranga email. Another google search says that the motivation behind this bulk email is someone who is wishing happiness to everyone they can reach. I feel better already! Gouranga!