Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Osprey Nest Cam

Live from the Frederick Douglass Bridge across the Anacostia River, EarthCam brings you a web cam of two Osprey chicks and their parents. The refresh rate is choppy but fast enough to capture a lot of their activities. The chicks were testing their wings when I first tuned in.

(via wetass)

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Senior Wizard

I was lucky enough to work in this industry during its more frivolous periods. This is an actual business card I carried during the late 80s early 90s.

I shared the title of Senior Wizard with Doug. Our boss had walked up to us one day and asked what we wanted our titles to be. I don't recall whether this letter preceded our title selection or not. Regardless, it speaks to the themes.

January 4, 1991

Letter to the Editor
Programmer's Journal
P.O Box 70167
Eugene, OR 97401-0110

Dear Sirs:

For the edification of programmers everywhere, we have decided to
formalize the levels of "programmitude" (programming aptitude and
overall skill level). These levels exist in all programming
organizations but have never been categorized properly until now.
The levels are as follows:
1. Novice
2. Acolyte
3. Junior Programmer
4. Programmer
5. Senior Programmer
6. Master Programmer
7. Architect
8. Genius
a. Genius
b. Super Genius
9. Guru
a. Guru
b. Senior Guru
10. Magician
a. Apprentice Magician
b. Magician
c. Senior Magician
d. Master Magician
11. Wizard
a. Warlock (Junior Wizard)
b. Wizard
c. Senior Wizard
d. Master Wizard
e. Guru Wizard
12. Walter Bright

If any Personnel or Human Resource departments require use of this
list, please be advised that we will forego all royalties in order
to facilitate the rapid acceptance of these categories.


Pete Lyons, Doug Ross
Burlington, Massachusetts

We really sent this letter to Progammer's Journal. I don't recall exactly why we were so fixated on Walter Bright, but Doug, actually called up Walter's company one day and tried to get us a poster or a signed picture. The secretary laughed but never sent us our picture.

Desperately seeking Octopus and Irish Cows

I wrote one post about Paul Allen's Octopus back in April and now it's by far my biggest search hit generator. I wish I had more information but I don't.

Another post that has received a lot of search hits is one about the Billy Collins poem Afternoon with Irish Cows. It's a good poem and I wish I could publish the text for everyone. Unfortunetly I don't think the text is available on the internet. If you want to read it you need to go buy one of Billy Collin's books. Picnic Lighting contains a copy along with a lot of other great poems.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Project Looking Glass

I've never worked on a 3D desktop before but if the pictures Sun has posted on the Looking Glass technology are true representations, and the performance is good, I can't wait to.

The novel way you can organize windows by twisting them looks very handy. I also like how you are at the center of a 3D desk and that you can pan around and see the wallpaper images rotate around you giving you a sense of being in a 3D space. This feature could lead to a whole new market for 360 degree photos. My XP and OSX desktops are suddenly feeling a bit archaic.

I'm confused as to the extent Java was used in building Looking Glass. As much as I love Java I'm hesitant to believe it's quite reached a point where it could be used to build OS level UI.

Tumbleweed Rover

Nasa's experimental Tumbleweed Rover looks like a nightmare out of the 60s TV series The Prisoner. It's a plastic ball that rolls across the landscape collecting data on temperature, air pressure and the like.

It just completed a test deployment in Antarctica were it must have scared the crap out of some penguins.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Cyclomatic Complexity

I really enjoyed this article from OnJava on Cyclomatic Complexity. Among measurable software metrics it seems like one of the most useful.

Mystic River

I finally got a chance to see the Clint Eastwood film Mystic River this weekend. It's a hard movie. I can't say I loved it, but I certainly respect it. The acting was superior, the photography was subtle yet powerful and the locations were oh so very familiar. My sister in-law lived in both Charlestown and Chelsea so I've seen the river from both shores.

The two brother friends of Sean Penn's character reminded me of a real life gangster from this area. Back quite a few years ago there was a shooting in a Charlestown '99' restaurant. (A '99' is a chain restaurant in New England that features pub food.) When the shooter came to trial the prosecutor asked him how he shot the victim. I was very struck by the honesty and directness of the response: I shot him dead.

Chicago Boyz

My co-worker and friend Sylvain writes an amazingly literate blog along with some other folks at I've been an admirer of his writing for some time but haven't written about it before. Just the other day Sylvain linked to my Excessive Wash post and my hit rate jumped amazingly. I wish I could direct the same traffic his way but I don't think my readership has even come close to what they have.

For those that don't know, Sylvain is not a native English speaker; he's a French man, in fact the most right wing French man you're likely to meet. His mastery of English and his ability to construct a sentence in a second language reminds me of Joseph Conrad. His writing continually shames me. I don't always agree with his opinions but I'm always envious of his ability to articulate his ideas.

Self censorship

I'm getting a little sick of the major news organizations playing into the hands of the terrorists by reporting, in explicit detail, their gruesome demands and horrible deeds. I expect better judgment from them. It's obvious they are being manipulated, why don't they change their reporting to be more factual and less emotional. They have to realize they are pawns in a global public relations war.

News organizations could just report that a hostage has been take and death threat issued instead of laying out the graphic details and participating in the morbid count downs. I don't see how that serves anyone besides the terrorist and perhaps cynically, the news organizations themselves by increased ratings; I really hope that later thought is not the case.

Whether a hostage was shot, stabbed or beheaded really doesn't matter. The terrorist obviously choose beheading for it's shock value. There is no reason to support their efforts by emphasizing their message.

I'm not an avid supporter of either major US political party so I don't think my criticism is directed at one or the other. I've seen bad ethical decisions made by both CNN and Fox so I don't' blame any specific electoral prejudice. I just plainly see that the US media is being grossly manipulated and think it's a shame.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Simple Java Persistence

Having a separate data tier for all applications is overkill. Just because your working data set may exceed available memory doesn't mean you want to introduce a SQL layer. If you're writing a utility that deals with a very large amount of data or if your writing a GUI app that needs some storage, but want to keep install and management simple, you don't want to require a complex data layer. You always have the option of rolling your own simple database engine but who wants to do that.

What I want to solve this is a general solution comprised of persistent versions of the collection classes that maintain the same access characteristics as their in memory counter parts. The persistent Map class would have a database that's indexed by the key value to support fast key based access. The persistent List class would support fast offset access and iteration. Classes would be stored in the collection databases as serialized bytes.

Map map = new persistentMap("");
List list = new persistentList("");
Set set = new PersistentSet("");

Because the current collection classes don't throw checked IO exceptions these implementations would need to throw unchecked exceptions when IO errors occurred. I don't think that's a problem however given the orthogonal nature of the underlying persistence.

Another dream project for another day.


While I haven't found the exact implementation I was thinking about, I've found a lot tools that are aimed at the exact sort of problems I mentioned.

The first tool is called Jisp.

Jisp is an embedded database engine designed for programmers who need indexed access to data. Written in Pure Java and tested for portability, Jisp provides a simple, direct solution when an enterprise-class database system is too big or expensive for the task at hand.

If you want to build a GNU licensed tool Jisp is free, otherwise it will cost you $2500.

Another option I've come across that's similar is db40. It's has no free license but is available for a $100 yearly subscription to individuals or $1000 to corporations.

There's also a product called the Infinity Database Engine. It's cheaper at $369 but requires royalties when deployed on J2ME.

I'm sure if I keep digging I will find even more.

On a related note, I found a good article on B-trees in Java Pro magazine.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Excessive Wash

This is the police log clipping from my one and only brush with the law. The year was 1984. It was my best friend Fred's birthday party and he wanted to get his boat in the water so we could do some water skiing. He had a lot of guests around so I volunteered to take the boat from a ramp in Marblehead harbor over to his parent's dock on the Marblehead side of Salem harbor. A couple of Fred's college buddies volunteered to join me for the trip.

It was a very windy day and there was a small craft warning in effect. The ride around Peaches point that separates the harbors was slow and rough and I was happy to finally reach the protected waters of Salem harbor and open up the throttle a little. Salem harbor at the time was quite open with a free speed channel that ran its length. I unfortunately had entered the harbor too close to the Marblehead side and was outside the channel.

As I entered the harbor I noticed another small unmarked motor boat moving off to my port side. It was accelerating and moving towards me. The the man in the boat was gesturing with his hand but I couldn't imagine he was signaling me so I ignored him and kept on cruising; moving in the direction of the channel. It wasn't until one of Fred's college buddies mentioned the fact that the guy following us had a gun that I decided to stop.

The man with the gun turned out to be an assistant harbor master. I think he was having a bad day because he threatened to arrest me on the spot. He made me follow him to a dock at Pickering Wharf in Salem, where he yelled at me some more and explained the hazards of my wake; his main concern seemed to be that if someone on one of the small boats I passed was deep frying they could have been splashed by oil. I was biting my tongue the whole time, wanting to point out the fact that the wind was doing quite a bit of boat jostling itself. In the end I kept my comments to myself and he just logged the incident and let me go.

It wasn't until a few days later when some police showed up at my parent's house with the court warrant that I even knew I was in trouble. It was my first year at Alpha Software and I was really embarrassed that I had to take the day off and go to court.

On my day in court, my case came late on the docket so I got to watch a lot of shop lifters, drug offenders and drunk drivers get their sentences and fines before me. The judge seemed pretty tough. When my case finally came up I was called to the microphone in the center of the court and the charges were read. I knew things would be all right once I saw the look on the judges face. It was a definite 'what the fuck?' sort of look (if the judge was a dog his head would have tilted). The judge called the prosecutor lady over and they consulted for a few seconds and then the judge looked at me and said, "Twenty five dollars seem ok?", I nodded and that was that.

There are three inaccuracies in the police log. I wasn't the boat owner, the boat belonged to Fred's dad. I also was not 21, I was actually 22 at the time. And finally, the charge I received was not 'creating excessive wake' but instead the more obscure 'creating excessive wash'.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Hot nuts

Whatever happened to hot nuts? As a kid, I remember the peanut man outside Fenway Park, yelling, 'Get you peanuts, here, fresh hot roasted peanuts, here'. Back in 1936 Lil Johnson liked hot nuts so much she recorded a song about them. And, even though you can still purchase a hot nut vending machine, you don't see them around like you used to. It seems like this part of the world has lost its taste for hot nuts.

I probably would have continued my existence not noticing the disappearance of hot nuts had it not been for my fortuitous mistake this morning of forgetting my pistachios in my truck. It's been a beautiful sunny, early summer, day here in Westford MA and my truck interior was quite toasty. Needless to say the nuts were hot and they were very tasty that way.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Myth of the Beginning of Time

Gabriele Veneziano, a theoretical physicist at CERN, has written a fascinating, but challenging to read, article for Scientific American on the origins of the universe and time itself. I don't claim to understand everything he talks about (String theory is pretty mind bending), but the basic idea that we may be able to glimpse past the singularity of the big bang to see the shadow of some previous state is pretty amazing.

On a side note, Scientific America requires you to agree to a usage agreement before you can link to their content. The following is the link they requested I use for the article.

Scientific American: The Myth of the Beginning of Time [ COSMOLOGY ]
String theory suggests that the
big bang was not the origin of the universe but simply the outcome of a preexisting state

I need a BMW and an iPod

BMW has integrated iPod support into its car stereos. That seems like a great idea. I hope other car makers follow suite.

The biggest reason I haven't jumped on the iPod bandwagon has been that I mostly listen to music in my truck. I could trade in my truck for a new BMW but an easier step might be to install this Alpine iPod ready car stereo. Hmmm...

Monday, June 21, 2004

Send a letter to the Governor

I'm on the board of directors for See A New Sun Foundation, an organization that supports suicide prevention efforts. We recently received a call from another suicide prevention group asking us to write the Governor in support of line item #4513-1026; $250,000 for suicide prevention in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's budget.
I don't recall the last time I sent a message to a Massachusetts official but it was long enough ago I used a stamp. This time, rather than live in the past, I decided to send the Governor an email.

I give the State IT department credit. They have a very nice site dedicated to making it easy to support your issue of choice. It helps form the letter and provides an email based challenge and response system to reduce identity impostors. My only beef was that it didn't work with Mozilla. Under Mozilla, after filling in a couple of screens and pressing the 'Continue' button you get sent back to screen one instead of the intended screen. Under IE it worked fine.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Books for a Software Engineering Graduate

One of my nephews graduated with a degree in Software Engineering this Spring. I've been thinking of passing down some avuncular wisdom on the profession in the form on some books.

Possible titles I've thought about are:

The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master by Andrew Hunt, David Thomas

Agile Software Development by Alistair Cockburn

Design Patterns by Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, John Vlissides

Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code by Martin Fowler, Kent Beck, John Brant, William Opdyke, Don Roberts

It's certainly very early in his career and I don't know what direction the winds will take him, so general books I think are better than targeted ones. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

A UML Pattern Language

I have a love hate relationship with UML. I love the idea of a modeling language for communicating complicated ideas, but in practice I've never found much value from the diagrams. The few times I have found them useful were as tools for myself to better understand the relationship of a complicated set of classes or objects. I've never really found that reading someone else's diagrams to be that useful. I think a lot of this confusion comes from most people's cursory knowledge of the language which leads to diagrams built from the elements of UML but that don't' follow their intended usages or best practices. I have no doubt my diagrams have suffered from this problem.

Unless you work in an environment with a skilled UML practitioner to act as a mentor, there's no feedback loop to guide your modeling development. This makes building models that are understandable to a large audience difficult. I recall when I learned C++, even with the feedback of the compiler and the running code, I never felt confident I was doing the right thing or using the tool in the right way until after I had read and applied the lessons in Scott Meyer's 'Effective C++' series of books. I've been looking for something similar to help with my UML techniques.

I finally lucked out this week and stumbled across a nice book on UML called A UML Pattern Language by Paul Evitts. The book uses the Christopher Alexander's pattern approach of specifying common UML problems and forces and then talks about the solution and provides examples. This was exactly the sort of feedback I've been looking for. I'm only half way through the book but I feel like I've gained some new insights into how to model more effectively.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004


Martin Fowler recently posted about a architectural style he calls SunkCostDrivenArchitecture.

Your company buys some very expensive piece of infrastructure software. You are then told you must use it on a project even if it's not suitable for the project and causes you extra effort After paying all that money for it you don't want it to go to waste do you?

This made me think of another related architectural pattern I've seen, it may have a formal name but I don't know it, so I just made this up:

UglyCousinArchitecture: Your company has developed a technology that does X. Your told you must use X even if it's not suitable for the project.

A related pattern to the UglyCousingArchticture is what I call the SameNameArchitecture:

SameNameArchitecture: Your company has developed a technology X that contains a word Z in its name. Your new project requirements indicated a need for a technology Y that also contains Z in its name. Every manager and many architects above you will assume technology X will do the job of technology Y because they have the same word Z in their name.

This last one has been a constant pain in my side. On IBM/Lotus Workplace I work on the e-mail routing infrastructure and we have some technology in the router's persistence layer we've called 'the mail queue' since our initial specifications. You wouldn't believe the number of times I've had to explain to folks why this isn't using MQ.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Subbuteo streakers not strikers

Two of my childhood friend's dads were European and loved Soccer. Around the time we turned ten and my dad was buying me my vibrating football game, their dads both bought them Subbuteo table-soccer games. Even though I've grown into more of a football fan than a soccer fan, I have to admit Subbuteo was much more fun and a much better recreation of the real sport than vibrating football. In Subbuteo you flick little plastic men on rounded weighted bases, across a felt pitch, trying to move a soccer ball up field and into the goal. Part of the fun is you can get players painted like any of your favorite teams from around the world. You can also get fancier fields with stands, or advertising billboards and create model stadiums. The really absurd thing, and what prompted this post, is that you can actually buy little plastic streakers, male or female, to interrupt your matches.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

War! Age of Imperialism

I was browsing Sun's Java page and noticed some links to products developed using Java. I took a look at one strategy game called War! Age of Imperialism. It's a very nice piece of work. This isn't a highly animated game but the graphics are very beautiful. The redraws are all very crisp and clean. It's a very professional product. It's nice to see someone leveraging Java to build this sort of game. It seems like a perfect fit.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Squirrel Migrations

I can't let the squirrel topic drop. A long time ago I read an article in Nature on Easter Gray Squirrels that mentioned how in the past great migrations of squirrels had been reported. I've done some research today on this topic and found a lot of facts.

Today, squirrel migrations are a rare phenomenon. They appear to occur when times of extra high nut production are quickly followed by very low nut production. The last referenced occurrence I could find of a mass migration was 1968 in the Eastern US. During the 1800s, when there were more hard wood forests, squirrel migration were more prevalent. Merriweather Lewis (of Lewis and Clark) reported seeing a migration in Ohio in 1803. Other reports of mass migrations occurred in 1809, 1811, 1819, 1842, 1847, 1852, and 1856.

A main source of information for this post was; the internet can make you feel so much better about yourself, there's always someone nuttier, or more squirrel obsessed than you.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004


I'm a postmodern sort of guy, but traditional ceremonies can still send a chill up my spine. I'm as bored as the next person with the coverage of the President Reagan's death, but I have to admit a fondness for the actual funeral ceremony. I loved seeing the rider-less horse with the reversed boots and the horse drawn caisson carrying the casket. These are poetic symbols that transcend generations.

I was too young to remember much of Kennedy's or Johnson's funerals and Nixon was too tainted to deserver the full Presidential treatment. I've heard much speculation about whether Ford, Carter, Busch Sr., Clinton or G.W. will ever receive similar send offs. I hope so. Service and death should transcend politics.

White Squirrels

I don't want to spend too much time on Squirels but this article about White Squirrels seemed appropriate.

Squirrel Fishing

I believe this is old news but I hadn't seen it before. People actually put nuts on a string and lure squirrels for fun. I'm not disgusted or anything, I'm just ashamed I didn't think of it first.

I found this link at but did a google search on the topic and found a lot more info. It's seems to have a cult following. There's even a University of Oregon Squirrel Fishing Club.


I don't mean to be harsh but I was relieved when President Reagan died. I know too well the pain of watching a loved one with Alzheimer's degenerate. See, my mother suffered with Alzheimer's and her death from pneumonia, like Reagan's, was a great relief.

The parallels between Reagan's illness and my mother's have been on my mind for years now. Like Reagan my mother slowly degenerated from a vibrant person, through confusion (and in my mother's case fear), into non-recognition, then finally deeper into non-responsiveness, pneumonia and death. The whole time between Reagan's announcement of his illness and this weekend's events, I have been imagining the state of his illness, imaging the pain his family is experiencing, and hoping for a swift conclusion for all's sake.

To give you a taste for how terrible this illness is, I can recall on holiday where one of my sisters and I were discussing our recent visits to my mother's nursing home and we confessed to each other that we both had been dreaming about smothering our mother with a pillow in order to end her suffering. Neither of us is prone to summary action, this was just the result of having to watch someone you love suffer so greatly.

According to one of the Reagan's daughters, Ronald had a moment of seeming clarity before his death. He supposedly opened his eyes for the first time in a long time and looked at Nancy. I canÂ?t say the same for my mother. She passed in her sleep, at night, alone.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Email signatures

I don't like e-mail signatures beyond the basic name, position, and return address variety. I don't like cute quotes or clever pictograms but for some reason I felt compelled last week to add this quote to my email signature.

"And doesn't this remind you of when you were in the boat? And then, later that night you were lying looking up at the ceiling and the water in your head was not dissimilar from the landscape, and you think to yourself, why is it that the landscape is moving but the boat is still?"

Ten points if you can name the movie this quote is from and the actor who said it (without searching the web). Hint: for the speaker it's after back to the future and for the star it's before the nick of time.

Crunchy Frogs

I was sitting typing in code and, for some reason unknown to me, the phrase 'Crunchy Frogs' just popped into my head. I couldn't recall the source so I googled the phrase and came upon the original Monty Python sketch that mentioned the crisp amphibians. It's a classic.

I: Then we have number four. Number four: Crunchy Frog.

H: Yes.

I: Am I right in thinking there's a real frog in 'ere?

H: Yes, a little one.

I: What sort of frog?

H: A...a *dead* frog.

I: Is it cooked?

H: No.

I: What, a RAW frog?!?

H: Oh, we use only the finest baby frogs, dew-picked and flown from Iraq,

cleansed in the finest quality spring water, lightly killed, and sealed in

a succulent, Swiss, quintuple-smooth, treble-milk chocolate envelope, and

lovingly frosted with glucose.

I: That's as may be, but it's still a frog!

H: What else?

I: Well, don't you even take the bones out?

H: If we took the bones out, it wouldn't be crunchy, would it?

Monday, June 07, 2004

Cool Movie Trivia

Who Wants To Be a Cool Movie Zillionare is a fun movie centric variation on TV game show Who Wants To Be a Millionaire. I'm a pretty big movie buff and have yet to get past the 120k question. It's trivial fun.

Ohio Trespassers

In a simliar vein to Bob's recent post of New England ruins, here's a cool link from a couple in Ohio who photograph abandonded and overgrown places.

via the infamous Don.

Invader Egg

My old co-worker Doug continues his Alpha Software reminiscence with this post on the Alpha Five Easter egg. That's me on the top row, second from the left.

A CoolWebSearch Sunday

I've been lucky when it comes to computer hygiene. Until yesterday I was happily unaware of the nasty little internet explorer trojan called CoolWebSearch. All this changed when a friend of mine called in a panic saying that he couldn't log onto the internet. He already had spent hours on the phone with both MS and his cable company but had not succeeded in fixing the problem. He said he hated to bother me but wondered if I could take a stab at it. I figured why not.

So I arrive at around 4:00pm Sunday afternoon and am shown the patient, a Dell system running XP. The symptom that was keeping him from accessing the internet was that IE kept crashing as it loaded. I verified that his connection was infact good, and it was, so I figured he must have a corrupt copy of IE. Time for a reinstall I thought. I fired up the control panel and removed IE, rebooted, went back to the control panel and added IE again and rebooted. Same problem.

I started asking my friend what he had installed lately and he mentioned his son who was home from college had been using the computer a lot and may have installed some stuff. This sounded like a infection scenario so I fired up the control panel and started to look through the installed programs looking for something that a teenager might install. I noticed a few odd things and on a whim pressed the link that directed me to the products home page. Surprise, IE loaded and took me to the page. I now clicked on the desktop IE icon and it too loaded. The home page it took me to was a local file on the c drive. I asked my friend why he had this as his home page. He said he didn't and it had just started to appear recently. I opened internet options, and changed the home page to google and rebooted the system.

Feeling less than totally confident I clicked on the desktop IE icon again and it crashed just as before. I had already spent about 45 minutes getting to this point so I decided to install a back door to the internet. I used the trick I had discovered earlier of opening IE through the control panel to downloaded Mozilla 1.6 and installed it on the machine. If I couldn't get IE to work, at least I would be able to get him setup on Mozilla.

Now that I was back on line I figured it should be able to google around and find some more info on the problem. I couldn't find anything exactly that described what I was seeing but I saw enough info on the CoolWebSearch trojan that I figured it was the root cause of the problem. I downloaded two pieces of software:
HijackThis and CWShredder, both from The instructions called for using CWShredder first from a Safe Mode prompt, rebooting, running HijackThis to remove the registry crap and rebooting again. Thankfully it worked, IE loaded and went to the blank:about page. I reset it to Google, rebooted and all was well.

In the end it took about an hour and a half to diagnose and clean the machine. The initial lack of access to the internet was probably the most frustrating part. In the end, I learned a lot about the current state of tojans and have a new respect for how heinous they can be.

Friday, June 04, 2004

I was driving to work on 495 north this morning and noticed a nice new white pickup truck carrying some plastic barrels driving down the road in front of me. As I approached I could read the words "Dog-Gone-It Pet Waste Removal Service". As I approached a little closer I could read the address of the companies web site, with little steaming piles of dog doo instead of periods in the address.

I got such a chuckle out of it I looked up the service once I got to work. If you live in Southern NH or Eastern MA, for just $10.00 per visit per dog, they will clean up you dog's doo. As someone who has the weekly chore of cleaning up after a large dog I must admit it seems like a bargain.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Orkut Scrapbooking

I've been pretty passive in Orkut since the beginning. I just check in now and again to see if anyone new I know is a member and maybe make a post or two in some of the few communities I'm a member of, but nothing much more.

Recently however I noticed my friend Don's friend count rapidly rise and this piqued my curiosity. What was interesting was that I couldn't correlate the friends to any job or activity I knew Don was involved with. I made a mental note to ask Don how this came to pass, but never mentioned it. Then one day, like Morpheus offering Neo the little pill of enlightenment, Don leaves me an Orkut scapbook message:

I noticed you don't have any scrapbook entries. I have nothing to say here, but am merely planting the flag of the Kingdom of Don on the beach of Peteland.

Next thing you know my Orkut scrapbook is filling with notes from people all over the place. Turns out there is a whole sub culture in Orkut of people who write scrap book entries and my friend Don had given them my name.

It appears however that the folks at Orkut aren't always appreciative of all this extra traffic and temporarily kick these folks off. This leads them to create alternate personas: Evil Stephanie, etc. to get back on line.

I don't know what to make of it really. It's sort of IRC like chatting but with pictures and profiles. I can only say everyone I've talked to so far has been very nice and funny.

The Out Campaign: Scarlet Letter of Atheism