May 2002

Whatever happened to Boba Fett?

by Michael Alderete on 5/27/2002

In the opening part of Return of the Jedi, while being rescued, Han Solo accidentally knocks Boba Fett into the sarlacc, that huge pit in the sand with the tentacles and teeth. The assumption is that Boba Fett dies, and indeed, he doesn’t show up in the rest of the movie.

But here’s what really happened to him.

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Another day, another excuse…

by Michael Alderete on 5/26/2002

So, I have this programming assignment for a class, which is due on Wednesday. It’s a fairly sizable piece of work, and while I’ve been making steady progress for the three weeks I’ve had it, I’ve been counting on having a full day during this three-day weekend to finish it off.

Well, Saturday was frittered away horking around on my computer, updating a few dozen pieces of software, and reading some really good science fiction online.

After blowing Saturday, I really needed to be productive Sunday. I started out well enough, but then one orange juice and champaign became two while helping Rochelle get started with her baking. And then Hilda came down, and two became four. Or five. I returned to bed at about noon to take a nap and sleep off the booze.

My immediate instinct after waking up at 4pm (we were heading out to a dinner Rochelle was hosting at 5:00pm) was to look for a(n emotional) stick to beat Rochelle with, because it just had to be her fault (not mine). After several false starts, I finally found something that worked in the expensive smoked salmon that’s currently rotting in the refrigerator.

But then I realized, hey wait, I don’t need to pin this on Rochelle, because it was actually Hilda’s fault.

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More naked people

by Michael Alderete on 5/25/2002

I have a sure-fire way to end all this suicide bombing. Israel could be the first nation to legally require that all residents go nude, all the time, in public.

It’s a lot harder to hide a bomb if you have no clothing on. Anyone wearing clothing can be spotted immediately, and searched on the spot.

I suppose you’d have to make carrying duffel bags and the like illegal also…

Hey, I’m just trying to help here!

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Timing is everything

by Michael Alderete on 5/23/2002

So, the best hamburger in San Francisco is available at a place not too far from our house. It’s 1/2 pound of very high-quality beef, hand formed, and grilled to perfection by people who know that pushing down with a spatula on the patty while it’s cooking is a crime.

They do 200 burgers one day a week, and when they run out, they’re gone. Too bad, try again next week. Their fame has spread wide and far, and they’re usually out well before we get there.

But tonight was different. I got home just before 8:00pm, and spied two burgers on the grill from across the street. I hustled over to place an order…three minutes too late. The last two burgers were those sizzling away, with claims already staked.

But when I got home a smile upon Rochelle’s face greeted me. She had gotten home a half-hour earlier. In other words, 27 minutes before they ran out. I ate my half burger, medium rare, with cheddar and chili and grilled onions, while typing this up.

And no, I am not going to tell you where this place is or what night they have burgers — you’re already eating my burgers, dammit!

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Make ’em pay

by Michael Alderete on 5/21/2002

I’m convinced there’s no lie Microsoft won’t tell, no line they won’t cross, to be able to continue to behave exactly as they want. Using the war against terrorism is the latest absurdity.

Given this and Bill Gates’s threat to pull Windows from the marketplace if forced to make any court-ordered changes to his software, it’s clear the only successful remedy in the Microsoft antitrust trial will be structural.

Dave Winer recently wondered if the blogging community could help solve the sticky issues of finding an appropriate remedy. So I have an idea.

One of Microsoft’s mightiest weapons is the huge pile of cash they sit on, more than $40 billion. Among many other things, it lets them buy their way into new markets, taking huge losses for years to drive out competitors. Taking most of that money away would at least slow them down.

But taking $40 billion away from them isn’t something that would be “fair” (though why the rules of fair play should apply to Microsoft is beyond me). There is a way around this.

Make them pay a shareholder dividend. A biiiiiig dividend.

It’s common practice for companies with profits or ready cash the size of Microsoft’s to pay dividends; indeed, Microsoft’s cash hoard is twice the size of GM’s, a company with 7 times the revenue. (In other words, they should need lots less, but have much more.) It’s even arguable that holding that cash is a tax dodge.

So, for a lot of reasons, a court-mandated dividend that shrank the pile of cash to something reasonable — say, $4 billion — would be a structural change that could both positively affect Microsoft’s behavior, and be a nice bonus for shareholders.

This idea isn’t a complete solution, but it’s a possible component. Take it or ignore it, whatever.
Disclosure May Endanger U.S.
Gates: Remedy “Impossible”
Can Boggers Solve MS Problem?
Microsoft Tax Dodge

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Where to put Java extensions on Mac OS X

by Michael Alderete on 5/21/2002

A couple weekends ago I spent hours and hours trying to get a JDBC driver to be recognized on my Mac OS X system. I fiddled with the CLASSPATH for, literally, days, and never got it to work. No matter what I did, I kept getting ClassNotFoundExceptions when I tried to load the driver, and other errors that indicated my driver could not be found.

Then, after browsing the MacJavaDev mailing list archives for hours and trying every likely looking tip, I finally hit the one post with the information I needed.

So, hopefully this will help you. To install a new Java library on a Mac OS X system, put the JAR file into /Library/Java/Extensions (if everyone on your system needs it) or ~/Library/Java/Extensions (if it will only be used by you).

So, to be crystal clear, the path to the MM.MySQL JDBC driver on my system is:


With the driver installed in this location, I don’t need to do anything to my CLASSPATH to be able to load and use the driver.

Hope this helps!
Apple Java-Dev List

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Queen of the bed

by Michael Alderete on 5/20/2002 · 1 comment

Recently Rochelle has been coming home to find Basta laying in the middle of our bed, with a look that says “I’m the Queen of the Bed.”

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Bay To Breakers

by Michael Alderete on 5/20/2002

Rochelle and I have decided that the Bay To Breakers race in San Francisco is our annual “fat ass” check. If we can finish the race, we haven’t become complete fat asses.

Yesterday was our first one, and we finished with a fairly respectable (for walkers) 2 hours 16 minutes, which basically means we stayed pretty close to 20 minute miles the entire way.

If you weren’t in the Bay Area over the weekend, you might not know that the weather on Sunday for the race was horrible. It rained on us pretty much the entire race, though never so hard that we decided to quit.

Oh, we both tried to get the other one to cave in. Rochelle offered that to me when we were getting up at 7:00am. “You don’t have to get up, honey, you can just staaaay in bed if you want to.” Knowing she’d have stick for the next 12 months.

Then about half way (well past the infamous Hayes Street Hill), when we were basically soaked to the skin, with nothing but a long, flat, boring walk in front of us, Rochelle wanted to bail. I told her I would be willing to go with her if she wanted to quit. And a little voice told her that would be a bad idea.

When we finished the official route there were thousands of people heading to Footstock (the traditional festival at the end). We decided that, given the rain, they were certifiable. We headed straight for the first Muni train, and were in a hot bath about an hour later.

A little sore today, but not much. I think we passed our first fat ass check.
Bay To Breakers

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Naked people

May 20, 2002

While walking the Bay To Breakers on Sunday, Rochelle and I counted 59 naked people.

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Accidents will happen

May 16, 2002

We got drunk by accident on Saturday. The next day Rochelle said “David wasn’t with us, we can’t blame him.”

“Yes,” I said, “But we can blame Hilda.”

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May 12, 2002

Saw Spider-Man with Rochelle this morning. $14 for the tickets and $16 for the popcorn and drinks. We ate all the popcorn (two large bags). Good movie, recommended. But two full bags of popcorn was too much…

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May 11, 2002

Not all of the concepts in this classic story scale well to a larger society, but the most powerful one — F.-I.W. — is essential (in measured amounts), even if Dumbya and John Ashcroft would tell us otherwise.

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