Quote of the Week #51

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.

– Charles Darwin

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Penny Arcade: Ripped from Page A13

Penny Arcade is hardly known for being the most literal, true-to-life comic out there. So it’s a bit surprising when I read today’s comic, for I have witnessed exactly such an event unfold.

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The War on Terror (as viewed from the Bourne shell)

Review: Xperts: The Paranet

I got a copy of this book for free when I attended the author’s talk at the CERIAS Symposium last March. So that’s why I happen to have a copy of it. I finally got around to reading it while travelling to and from last week’s Cyber Corps Symposium.

The executive summary: Xperts: The Parasuck.

Details (and spoilers, as though you were going to read this anyway) inside!

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Quote of the Week #50

As a rule of thumb, the more qualifiers there are before the name of a country, the more corrupt the rulers. A country called The Socialist People’s Democratic Republic of X is probably the last place in the world you’d want to live.

– Paul Graham

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It’s Bubble Monkey

I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And the monkey stole my bubblegum.

Bubble Monkey AIM Buddy Icon

Behold! An AIM buddy icon pieced together from a bunch of EarthBound sprites taken from videogamesprites.net.

For those of you who haven’t played the game (for shame!), that’s Bubble Monkey on the right. You get him for free when you buy a pack of bubblegum. The monkey on the left is his wife.

A day late and a Dollar short

Dollar Rent A Car (of stiffing me out of the money they owed me fame) left me a voice mail today, apologizing profusely for that little stunt they pulled. They claim they honestly thought I would appreciate a $25 coupon for a service I have no intention of ever using again more than the $7 and change that, you know, they promised me to make up for screwing me over in Louisville.

They also said they’ll send me a check for the money they had promised, in addition to counter-returning the coupon I had returned. Amazingly, they say the coupon will probably reach me before the check does. I’m not sure how that works exactly, since I’m pretty sure both would fit in the same envelope. I also don’t see why this is going to take two weeks, especially given how a package I ordered from Amazon Monday managed to get here on on Thursday, and that was even with the freebie shipping.

Quote of the Week #49

Only in a police state is the job of a policeman easy.

– Orson Welles

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Cyber Corps Symposium Day 4: java.lang.ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException

It’s over!

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Cyber Corps Symposium Day 3: Poster Child

It turns out that it is possible for Syracuse to have days that aren’t hot and humid. Today was merely hot.

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Cyber Corps Symposium Day 2: This Time, It’s Not Day 1

Well, what do you know, it’s the first full day of events! And I do mean full.

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Cyber Corps Symposium Day 1: Sky Chief and the World of Two Hours Ago

Today was the first official day of the symposium, which makes yesterday Day 0. Can you feel the excitement?

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Cyber Corps Symposium Day 0: Blast from the Past


Who here wants to read daily posts about my trip to this year’s Cyber Corps Symposium? Too bad, you’re doing it anyway.

[Editor's note: changed day from 1 to 0 to better fit the symposium's schedule]


11:08 am EDT

I’m sitting at BWI waiting for my flight up to Syracuse. There don’t seem to be any access points at all around here, so into vim this goes until whenever I post this.

There’s a nice thunderstorm going on right now, which may not bode well for my flight. One plane recently arrived at a gate here, but they can’t so much as let the passengers off until the storm passed. My flight’s not scheduled to leave for another hour, so we’ll see if this screws me up at all or not. Luckily, there isn’t much to speak of going on at Syracuse today besides check-in, so even being delayed several hours won’t be too big a deal.

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Black Cables

Helpful tip: before you spend a panicked half an hour switching between watching TV and trying to figure out why your computer is refusing to recognize the external hard drive you bought not two weeks ago for making backups, make sure you’re actually plugging the drive into the computer and not, say, your gamepad.

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An Open Letter to Dollar Rent A Car

Paul Kuliniewicz
[address removed]

July 11, 2005

Dollar Rent A Car
ATTN: Sarah McClure
5330 E. 31st Street
P.O. Box 33167
Tulsa, OK 74153-1167

Ref # [removed]

Ms. McClure:

Recently I had the pleasure of attempting to do business with Dollar Rent A Car. It had been my intention to rent a midsize vehicle from June 3 to June 5 of this year from your facility at the Louisville, KY airport. As it turned out, despite having made a reservation several weeks in advance, the rental agent failed to have any vehicles available. The two people behind me in line met similar fates.

The rental agent was eventually able to refer me to one of your competitors for a rental car. Although I had irretrievably lost 45 minutes of my time dealing with the problem — hardly welcome when it was already late at night, my flight had been delayed by over an hour, and I still had an hour of driving ahead of me — I was at least reassured that Dollar Rent A Car would reimburse me for the difference in the cost of the rental, fuel excluded, offered by your competitor.

Alas, Dollar Rent A Car is now 0 for 2 when it comes to holding up its commitments. In today’s mail, I received a form letter informing me that you consider $7.30 too small an amount to bother reimbursing me for, despite the promise made by your rental agent. Instead, I am offered a $25 discount on my next rental.

My question to you is, after your company failed to honor my reservation and then failed to honor its promise to reimburse me for the additional cost of your competitor, why should I expect Dollar Rent A Car to perform acceptably in the future? How can I trust Dollar Rent A Car not to once again leave me stranded in an unfamiliar city next time I travel? I can only conclude that you value your customers at less than $7.30, for why else would you be willing to lose a customer over such a paltry sum of money?

Rest assured, I will be sure to avoid doing business with Dollar Rent A Car in the future, and will encourage everyone I know looking to rent a vehicle to do likewise. I have enclosed the $25 discount coupon I received, as I will not be needing it.

Thanks for everything,

Paul Kuliniewicz

encl: $25 discount coupon