ArtLung: I am Joe Crawford. Welcome to my website circa July 2008. I am a web developer. I live in Moorpark, California, USA. I work in Los Angeles, and have lived elsewhere and done many surprising things. I put up the first ArtLung website 12 years ago, moved it to 10 years ago, nd I've been blogging for 7 years. I'm still learning, every day. Welcome.

November, 2008: 25 posts.

Star Trek Demonstration: 1968


I’m Tired of Politics

But I can remind you to vote if you haven’t. I’ll be voting in the morning. Looking forward to it.

Vote. Every vote counts, or at least it should, and it probably will.

Update: I voted this morning. Got there 10 minutes early and there was already a line about 60 people long. Once the polls opened at 7:00am I got in and voted and was out by 7:20am.

I Voted.

The future is unwritten

The past, we have written down and we can reference it:

Barack Obama. I like him. He seems to be a straight shooter with upper management written all over him. I like that I my spidey sense doesn’t tingle with “Plastic Robot!” when I watch him speak. I would like him to be President.

About McCain’s Concession Speech:
He’s at odds with the Republican Party’s habits. He’s not hateful, and he’s rather moderate. The speech made me cry–and reignited my admiration of the man. It was gracious. His presidential aspirations are tragic and Faustian. He gave up his moderation to campaign in an aggressive, accusatory style. That suit didn’t fit, and he lost. Then again, with the country in as much turmoil as it is, hard to see what he could do to get traction.

About Obama’s speech:
He looked forward to the 22nd Century. How many times do leaders look forward 20 years, let alone 92 years? I think we have a President who will be mindful of the future. This is a change. Countries are not companies, they cannot be led quarter to quarter — and come to think of it, companies may not be so well off given their focus on quarter-to-quarter profits. What succeeds in the long-term are goals in the long-term. But he emphasized the difficulty that faces this country, and the hard work it will take us to get to that future. Platitudes and speeches do not get us the world we want, toil, difficulty, and hard work get us there.

Two Data Points:
In 1988 I voted for Jesse Jackson in the California Primary. His campaign made a go of it.

In 2000 I voted for John McCain in the California Primary. I was tilting libertarian at the time and McCain seemed like a good option. I still like the man, and his speech last night reminded me why.

The 18-year old kid who voted for Jesse Jackson would be shocked by two things in this future:

1. The President-Elect is a man categorized by race as a “black man”
2. No nuclear bombs have been detonated in anger

The future is unwritten. Let’s write some future.

Untitled, Really

There’s something archetypal about this image I really like.

It may be that it triggers me to think of the term “flimsy skirt” — which makes me think of this post: Shoe PhotoShop — which used to get a fair number of referrers for that phrase. Of course, that was six years ago.

I might need some sort of ranking and sorting system for my blog posts. Perhaps by included images, videos, lyrics, length, time of day, etc. I have a huge corpus of posts. Something to think about.

Lots of Videos

I hate it when people just post videos. I never have time to watch them all, since I’m looking at my own videos that compel me. So here are the videos that have compelled me lately. Just one on the main page, more after the jump.

Ben Folds – Kate in Nashville (and more from this user)

Read complete article→

Oyez, Oyez, Oyez!

Last night I saw this tweet:

suebob: @QueenofSpain Is it “Here, here” or “Hear hear”? I really don’t know and have always wondered.

I knew right off. One of my favorite things about having visited the Supreme Court was hearing that every session of the Court starts with this preamble:

Oyez, Oyez, Oyez! All persons having business before the Honorable, the Supreme Court of the United States, are admonished to draw near and give their attention, for the Court is now sitting. God save the United States and this Honorable Court!

I’m not sure how I make the link between oyez and hear — but I do. As to the language above, I really love it. I have a love of archaic language and formal presentation. I’m famous to Leah and my stepkids for having announced to Leah that I wanted to date her by saying “I find you charming and would like to see you socially.” To the question of “who talks like this? The answer is me.

Hear hear! is like “oyez oyez” — and I love the word oyez:

WORD HISTORY: The courtroom cry “Oyez, oyez, oyez,” has probably puzzled more than one auditor, especially if pronounced “O yes.” (Many people have thought that the words were in fact O yes.) This cry serves to remind us that up until the 18th century, speaking English in a British court of law was not required and one could instead use Law French, a form of French that evolved after the Norman Conquest, when Anglo-Norman became the language of the official class in England. Oyez descends from the Anglo-Norman oyez, the plural imperative form of oyer, “to hear”; thus oyez means “hear ye” and was used as a call for silence and attention. Although it would have been much heard in Medieval England, it is first recorded as an English word fairly late in the Middle English period, in a work composed around 1425.

Google: PHDs with Tanks

The other day I was listening to the Stack Overflow Podcast, which features two interesting bloggers who I’ve read for some time: Joel Spolsky of JoelOnSoftware, and Jeff Atwood of Coding Horror. They tend to ramble a bit, and they’re not as funny as they think they are, but I enjoy it. On Episode 28 they speculated as to how Google does its suggestions about typos. Their speculations were incorrect, because I remembered another piece of Audio I had listened to, Adam Bosworth speaking at the MySQL Developer’s Conference in 2005. That whole speech is wonderful. It’s got food for thought about developing at web-scale, it’s funny, and entertaining. The money quote that addresses what Messrs Spolsky and Atwood were saying is this, which I lovingly transcribed for comment on their blog:

“How many people here have built a system that takes a billion requests a day? Well you could. And actually that’s the point of this conversation–what I want to talk about. It’s the same thing that’s made Google possible I mean think about what Google does, we take hundreds of millions of fairly hard queries a day; the queries tend to say things like ‘searching for camels in Tanzania’ and we sort of shake our head and try and figure out what that means and we go over petabytes of content, not terabytes but petabytes of content. And we have a couple hundred milliseconds in which we’re allowed to search the entire petabytes and return back to you what we found in rank order. So not only are we trying to search really, really large amounts of data we’re trying to search it extraordinarily quickly and we’re trying to do this hundreds of millions of times a day. And we do it. And we do it without a helluva lot of sweat. The way I think about Google is that’s it’s lots of PHDs driving tanks. It’s all about brute force. Everyone’s sort of General Patton–they don’t drive around the wall they drive through the wall. It’s really dumb techniques, used in large scale: I mean for example, the spellchecking. Every so often when you type a Google query and it will say ‘did you mean,’ and it’s usually because you put in a typo. This is not because we have some incredible dictionary or some brilliant thesaurus that tells us what you meant. It’s because we’re tracking what people type _after_ they type the query that didn’t return anything — and it turned out that that was a very efficient way to figure out what you probably meant to type, in fact it works much better than any spellchecker. But notice the stupidity of the approach: ‘people who typed this usually wanted to do this’–works great.”

Found via Multicolr via American Apparel

The other day I noticed on The American Apparel Daily Update an image of mine! They had highlighted it because it came via a color search on Multicolr. I found it interesting that an image of mine should come up. It’s from my old set of Amiga Images.

Here’s a screenshot of the entry:

American Apparel Daily Update

And here’s the image that was found:


Multicolr is a pretty fun tool.

Ventura County

Latest mini-project of mine — an effort to figure out what companies are out here in Ventura County. If you know of a tech/internet/etc company, or a user group, or anything else relevant, please do drop a line!

Santa Barbara Drupal Meet

Last night I attended a meetup about Drupal in Santa Barbara. I had wondered whether this was something that would be worthwhile to drive to, considering the distance. Turned out it was no further than a drive down to Los Angeles for a meeting, which I’m more than happy to do when something interests me. It was an hour and a half drive, and that includes time getting gas. I’m very appreciating to Markus Sandy‘s twitter stream, that’s how I found out about it.

I learned a lot. I think I’m getting a much better high-level understanding of the strengths, weaknesses, and peculiarities of Drupal. It started some time back with some Drupal, and I’m thankful to my last job for getting me some more in-depth experience. I also learned a lot from DrupalCampLA.

Markus has already blogged about it!

Also, in terms of drupal, it’s all about the modules. Some modules that I want to check on (or refresh my memory of) are: cck, project, project_issue, book, blogapi, jstools, notifications, ubercart, word2web. We also talked about some of the history between Drupal and Acquia and the relationship between them, which I found quite helpful. We also discussed the perennial issue: WYSIWYG edititors and their incredible promise but sad lack of performance: FCKEditor, TinyMCE, TinyTinyMCE, and YUI Rich Text Editor.

I’m happy to have met the folks last night, it was an interesting group with varied backgrounds. I got a lot out of it and will be looking more seriously at Drupal and other groups that meet in Santa Barbara. “Worth the trip” is how I look at it.

Update: Markus has compiled a short video of the event

War of the Worlds 2.0

On Halloween I participated in a wonderful, strange experiment called War of the Worlds 2.0 on twitter. Here’s the story of how it came to be, from Kris Kowal.

My entries can be found by doing a search on “wotw2 from:artlung”. I’ve always been a fan of the idea of Orson Welles hacking the radio audience in 1939, and loved the tie-in between that story and Buckaroo Banzai.

Here’s the wrap up: War of the Worlds 2.0 – The Post Mortem. Mack Reed also has a wonderful post that thinks deeply, if at a thousand miles an hour — about what it means and what it’s about. I think he’s right on target. Read Kris’ post too, and follow the links contained therein. Great stuff about a fun event.

That night we actually went to a football game Tyler played in, and Leah would ask me what was happening, and I’d say “we’re trapped in a tripod net, slung below — we’re headed north but I suspect the tripod will return.” It was an enjoyable consensual hallucination.

Handicraft Guide to Cartooning for Armed Forces Personnel

What a great find from the ASIFA Hollywood Animation Archive. In 16 pages, it communicates a lot; though, the section on “racial symbols” makes me uncomfortable.

Redesigning in the open, Design Iterations, and Designing in the open is a remarkable post by Mark Boulton about the process of redesigning a website–in this case–with radical transparency. This is incredible and groundbreaking work, applying the modes of open source to design. Surprising that it has not devolved into design-by-committee.

LDS and Proposition 8

Some various responses to Proposition 8 of note. I’m sad at the rhetoric, I was sad about the proposition, and I feel The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have done themselves a disservice in this matter.

Mormons Resigning Despite Strong Heritage, Citing ‘Hatred’ by LDS Church

Mormons Stole Our Rights

danah boyd has the most measured, unhappy, but constructive response I’ve seen: post-Prop 8: seek an education-based reversal, not a legal challenge

Predicting the meltdown

Peter Schiff ends up prophetic, while everyone on the shows in this video treats him as a Cassandra.

via Open Culture and Paul Kedrosky.

Looking at the financial mess as the end of the excesses of the 1980s

Michael Lewis’ story The End is an engaging, enraging read. It posits that the recent crash of Wall Street financial firms is the end of what he had seen working as a trader in the 1980s. He documented his experiences in the book Liar’s Poker. This followup is a must-read.

Some excerpts:

Now, obviously, Meredith Whitney didn’t sink Wall Street. She just expressed most clearly and loudly a view that was, in retrospect, far more seditious to the financial order than, say, Eliot Spitzer’s campaign against Wall Street corruption. If mere scandal could have destroyed the big Wall Street investment banks, they’d have vanished long ago. This woman wasn’t saying that Wall Street bankers were corrupt. She was saying they were stupid. These people whose job it was to allocate capital apparently didn’t even know how to manage their own.

There’s a long list of people who now say they saw it coming all along but a far shorter one of people who actually did. Of those, even fewer had the nerve to bet on their vision. It’s not easy to stand apart from mass hysteria—to believe that most of what’s in the financial news is wrong or distorted, to believe that most important financial people are either lying or deluded—without actually being insane.

“I didn’t know that you weren’t supposed to put a sell rating on companies. I thought there were three boxes—buy, hold, sell—and you could pick the one you thought you should.” He was pressured generally to be a bit more upbeat, but upbeat wasn’t Steve Eisman’s style. Upbeat and Eisman didn’t occupy the same planet. A hedge fund manager who counts Eisman as a friend set out to explain him to me but quit a minute into it. After describing how Eisman exposed various important people as either liars or idiots, the hedge fund manager started to laugh. “He’s sort of a prick in a way, but he’s smart and honest and fearless.”

Harboring suspicions about ­people’s morals and telling investors that companies don’t deserve their capital wasn’t, in the 1990s or at any other time, the fast track to success on Wall Street.

As an investor, Eisman was allowed on the quarterly conference calls held by Moody’s but not allowed to ask questions. The people at Moody’s were polite about their brush-off, however. The C.E.O. even invited Eisman and his team to his office for a visit in June 2007. By then, Eisman was so certain that the world had been turned upside down that he just assumed this guy must know it too. “But we’re sitting there,” Daniel recalls, “and he says to us, like he actually means it, ‘I truly believe that our rating will prove accurate.’ And Steve shoots up in his chair and asks, ‘What did you just say?’ as if the guy had just uttered the most preposterous statement in the history of finance. He repeated it. And Eisman just laughed at him.”

“With all due respect, sir,” Daniel told the C.E.O. deferentially as they left the meeting, “you’re delusional.” This wasn’t Fitch or even S&P. This was Moody’s, the aristocrats of the rating business, 20 percent owned by Warren Buffett. And the company’s C.E.O. was being told he was either a fool or a crook by one Vincent Daniel, from Queens.

Read it.

I Like The Way You Move

Actually, I like the way Leah hustles to find us a place to move to. Same difference.

We found a new place, slightly less money, again on this side of Moorpark, very much within target range of the kids, a very humane home. Leah found this one and did the legwork all by herself. I needed only to go over yesterday and sign a lease and take a look.

We did some looking together as well, and we did our thing where we drive around looking for rentals that have not made it to Craigslist, The Kitty Letter, and the Ventura County Star. Mostly we ended up with places in Simi Valley (further from the kids!) that we were not crazy about, or places in Moorpark that were too expensive or too small. Add to that, the places we sort of liked and applied for we were rejected for last week. I suspect that our spotty credit in a “questionable” economic climate has people very skittish. We’ve paid rent on-time and with a great track record for good communication with our landlords for 2 years, and my income track record for those two years has been great. And yet, skittish. Ah well, the worm turned starting this past weekend and we started getting offers of houses. And though it was difficult, we turned down two before we took this one. We also turned down one that ended up being very questionable–the owners were in danger of foreclosure and thus could only offer us month-to-month.

Why are we moving? The owners of our current place moved away for a job they were getting more money for. They were underwater in the house, and we took it on. We like the place. We like the Real Estate guy who showed it to us. We were enjoying the house, but then a month ago we got word the owners would like to return to the house, have us break the lease (for a premium), and we would need to move. We put it off for a while and that’s where we are at two weeks ago. Since then it’s been searching.

It feels good to have an answer to the question: “where are you living next?” I’m not sure how we could have handled this differently next time, maybe not agreed to move? Or maybe given ourselves more time for the finding, choosing and accepting a house? At any rate, I’m glad it’s working out.

We’re moving this week, and Leah is managing that process as well. Go Leah!

Penguin Project: Go on an adventure in Antarctica!

My friend Pinguino is going on a trip to Antarctica and is inviting cool folks to go with her, check it out!

Here’s more info:

You could party in Vegas, Ibiza, Rio, Bangkok, Sydney, or even Marrakesh. But one continent remains overlooked when it comes to having a good time. That’s right, we’re talking about Antarctica. Could you imagine a better adventure? Twenty of your best friends sailing to the furthest destination in the world, partying the whole way. Being surrounded by tens of thousands of penguins, dancing on a glacier. An overnight camping trip or an ocean plunge, resulting in stories you could retell a thousand times. We’re going, and we want you to come with us.

Through the next year, we’ll be drawing 1,000 penguins on postcards. Each penguin will be photographed and posted online. They’ll be put up for “adoption,” and we’ll bring them all to Antarctica and take pictures of them there. When we return to Tierra Del Fuego in South America, we’ll mail the penguins to everyone that adopted them.

This is the Penguin Project. We’ll be updating this site regularly, so check back often!

If you’re interested in coming along, please email

The Reluctant Sysadmin

This morning I had a compile that was hanging and/or calling itself. This made the server, and more importantly, the “yes people use it” webserver unresponsive. This was not fun.

Here are the tools I used to kill the processes:

ps -aux | grep -i make | awk '{print $2}'

ps -aux | grep -i make | awk '{print $2}' | xargs kill -9

ps -aux | grep -i make | awk '{print "kill -9 "$2}' |sh -x

killall make

The final 2 commands I think did the best job.

I seem to be learning more server administration. I still don’t like it, but I can do more of it if I need to. Maybe installing Xubuntu on my machine at home really has been useful as I spend more time on the command line.


It’s all about boxes. Moving today. Moving. Oi. I think we need it. To top it off, we’re waiting on 5 weeks worth of checks. I hate that. Wish us luck.

Boxes, Medium Sized Boxes

Moved, Worn Out, Ready For Action

Boxes, part 2.

The move was completed without too much fuss. Upcoming: Job interviews, more box extraction and home setup, Thanksgiving, seeing my folks, and a memorial for a dear friends wife.

The Universe may be speaking to us. I wish it spoke more clearly, but hey, it’s the Universe. Size of the entire universe man, usually kind to smaller man.

Los Angeles Tech Networking

Ventura County Tech: Reskinned

Ventura County Design by Border7

Simi Valley’s Border 7 provided a wonderful reskin of If you are in Ventura County and in web/tech/design/internet/mobile drop me a line — I’d love to meet you!

“Friend Requests”


Happy Thanksgiving

If my memory is correct, I’ve spent Thanksgiving in California, Louisiana, Virginia, Utah, and the Philippines. Today I’ll spend Thanksgiving in Nevada with a bunch of family who probably also have never spent Thanksgiving in Nevada. Hoping for the best.

The photo above is of my Grandfather and me and some dogs — the Collie mix is Kimba, a dog I loved, and who was not quite as excited about me. I was the first grandkid on my Dad’s side of the family, so he was not impressed.

My Grandpa turned 90 this year.. Thanksgiving in Nevada is his wish, and so here we go!

So much to be thankful for this year. Happy Thanksgiving!

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