I survived my first night on call. Last night, the team on call was myself, another intern, and a third-year resident, covering two inpatient floors (around 55-60 patients). I had 15 oncology kids on my service alone, and some of them were pretty sick — almost all of them are in for in-house chemotherapy, and unsurprisingly, kids can get very sick while receiving drugs that are designed to kill cells. Nonetheless, by the end of the night, I felt pretty confident that I could handle the minor issues, make educated decisions about the moderate ones, and identify the major ones that needed me to page the third-year. And our third-year actually was able to catch about an hour of sleep, which she told us was solely because she got to trust our decisionmaking abilities by the end of the shift. (That made me pretty happy.)

Of course, when I rolled in the door today, I immediately crashed in bed… and didn’t wake up until around 9:00 PM. A little dinner, a little baseball on TV, and I’m turning in again. If I owe you email, I apologize; I’m off this weekend, and will try to catch back up.

(Before I crash, though, I wanted to point to Sotheby’s page on the copy of the Declaration of Independence sold for $8.1 million. This is the famous copy of the Declaration that was found at a flea market in 1989; I like this mostly because of the cool Java image viewer that Sotheby’s has on most every auction page.

There was some pretty big news out of the Supreme Court today. First, the Court decisively ended Elian’s stay in the United States; the kid is on his way to the airport as I’m typing this, and is free to return to Cuba. I wish him well in his homeland, and apologize for the way that our country treated him and his family.

Second, though, the Court upheld the Boy Scouts’ right to exclude homosexual troops and leaders from the organization in a 5-4 vote. The decision was based on the right of expressive association — essentially, the Boy Scouts have the right to choose their message, and then to enforce the adherance of all members of their organization to that message. Perhaps the biggest result of this decision is that organizations to which antidiscrimination laws do apply — fire stations, police precincts, and the like — are going to end up having to terminate their association with the Boy Scouts, since they cannot lend public support or funds to organizations which admittedly discriminate.

Jim Roepke swooped in today with an article that the Canadiens won’t be allowed to leave Montreal, inducing an enormous sigh of relief from Canadians who are sick of hockey deserting its homeland.

(Wow! This computer in the hospital let me enable cookies, so I can update Q. Of course, I have to be in a meeting in 3 minutes, so…)

Below is the flame that I got from the mysterious “Ray L.”, who apparently is offended that I, a doctor, can applaud that a stable browser has a chunk of market share (I’m still trying to figure out how the two are related), and also is reacting like I insulted his mother. I’m posting it by popular demand.

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Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2000 20:49:00 -0700
To: ***********
From: "Ray L." <ray@frogcyte.com>
Subject: 86% use Internet Explorer

Seen on your weblog today:
"Cooooool -- 86% of websurfers are using Internet Explorer to go where they want to go. Means that fewer and fewer people are using that browser that crashes on well-formed HTML and CSS code, which is a Good Thing for web developers."
This is a terrible thing for web developers, and anyone else who cares about diversity.
It's amazing that a doctor -- someone supposedly educated in biology -- could applaud the idea of monoculture, only weeks after the Microsoft Outlook virus showed just how dangerous monoculture is for software development.
Thanks to your stupidity and arrogance, I've deleted your URL from my bookmark list & won't be reading it anymore.

Tell me, do doctors really use the term “Gomer” (Get Out of My Emergency Room) to refer to certain patients?

I saw this in a quite funny movie starring Tim Matheson (I think), way back, where he plays an intern working in ER, and I wondered if they made it up or if it was something they got from reality. (It seemed to have a lot of verisimilitude; it seemed more like something they got from real doctors.)

The funniest line in the film: “Rule #1: Gomers never die. Rule #2: Gomers NEVER die.”

Because Wendell’s kicking sand in our collective faces, here’s my official mention of one of the coolest things in the meta-weblog world: Dan Sanderson’s new Subhonker Filter. Dan was kind enough to include me in the private beta, so I’ve played with it a bit more than most people, and I love it; now, if I only had time to surf the web…

Molson may be proud to be Canadian, apparently they aren’t proud enough of the Canadiens to continue to own them. And given the southward migration of the rest of the Canadian hockey franchises, I wouldn’t be shocked if the end result of this is that the Canadiens become Americans.

Holy crap. John Rocker’s return to New York City this coming Thursday is turning into an annoying ordeal. Today, the city announced that there will be more than 500 extra police officers at Shea, and that beer sales will be sharply curtailed (only two beers per person, rather than the normal four, and beer sales will end one inning earlier). If they think Rocker’s statements about New York made New Yorkers mad, wait until the Shea crowd finds out that they can’t buy beer… the poor schmuck’s gonna get beaned for sure.

At 4:00 PM ET tomorrow, Elian could be on a plane back to Cuba, finally ending this damn kidnapping. This CNN article also has links to the appeal to the Supreme Court filed by the Miami “relatives,” and the response to that appeal filed by Elian’s father.)

Maybe, just maybe, Moore’s Law is about to start applying to battery technology. I would love to stop having to worry about battery life on my laptop… because it would mean more continuous DVDs that I could watch!

Huge shock — air travel is just as annoying and trouble-filled as ever. And even bigger shock — the airlines blame it on everyone but themselves.

Quick update this morning, just to bring you my first flamer, who is so bent out of shape about yesterday’s comment on my part re: Internet Explorer and its 86% market share that he has gone and deleted his bookmark to Q. To quote him, “Thanks to your stupidity and arrogance, I’ve deleted your URL from my bookmark list & won’t be reading it anymore.” Good luck with your anger, there, young man… (I’ve posted the entire text of the flame, by popular request, and I corrected the mailto: links! That’ll teach me to try to type at 4:45 AM.)



OTHER 3.48


UNIX 0.36

yipes, all the Linux and Sun on the desktop talk and they do not have 4%.

I am way glad that you are making time for Q.


Whoa, am I tired. It’s been a while since I had to wake up at 4:30 AM; when it felt like it was time for my second cup of coffee at around 10:30 or 11:00 this morning, my body was saying that it was way too early in the morning to need a second cup, but my brain did the math, figured out it was already six hours since my first cup, and realized that I was right on schedule. My kids rock — I actually had one of my patients on my lap for a good 1/2 hour during rounds (try that on adult medicine!).

Great Supreme Court decison today — in a 7-2 decision, the Court upheld the necessity of the Miranda warning in arrests, even with voluntary confessions. Decades of the future of television cop shows are secured, as is the ability of future kids to understand the decades of past cop shows.

The Miami relatives have appealed the Elian decision to the Supreme Court. In reading this article, though, I think that the relatives have made a huge mistake — instead of asking the Court to decide on an issue of law, their question for the Court assumes that issue of law, and almost demands that the Court enforce their assumption. I quote from the MSNBC article (which quotes from the filed appeal):

The relatives’ formal appeal said the legal issues in the case “boil down to a single straightforward question: Can the INS deprive an alien child of his statutory and constitutional right to apply for asylum without conducting any hearing of any kind — or even without interviewing the child himself?”

Read that — it practically tells the Court that Elian has a “statutory and constitutional [sic] right to apply for asylum,” when in fact, every decision up through now has said that that specifically is not the case. Typically, such an appeal would ask the Court to determine if such a right existed, not tell the Court to enforce said assumed right.

Cooooool86% of websurfers are using Internet Explorer to go where they want to go. Means that fewer and fewer people are using that browser that crashes on well-formed HTML and CSS code, which is a Good Thing for web developers.

Wow — tomorrow, I officially start being Dr. Levine to real, live, actual patients. Wow. I’m nervous as all hell, and doubt I’ll get much sleep tonight, but I’m just as excited as I am nervous. Today, I spent a few hours in the hospital meeting my new patients (two oncology patients, a strange GI/infectious disease patient, and an asthmatic), and realized when I left that I was just plain happy to be starting up. We have a few scheduled admissions tomorrow, and there’ll assuredly be the normal unscheduled admissions through the Emergency Room, so things are starting out busy, busy, busy.

What this means, though, is that updates will be in the evenings for the next couple weeks. I have to be at the hospital at around 5:45 AM every morning, and every fourth night, I’m on call (meaning that I don’t come home until nearly noon the next day).

Ladies and gentlemen, the insane Mike Tyson that we all remember has reentered the building. In his postfight “interview” last night, he said to Lenox Lewis “I want your heart. I want to eat your children.” Of course, before the fight, he made an offhand comment about giving money to a woman on the street, and when asked who she was, he replied “What’s your momma’s name?” What a freakshow.

I don’t even know what to say about dung spitting.

Happiness is spending the day rollerblading and relaxing in Central Park, and then ending up at the famous Gray’s Papaya — two hot dogs and a drink, $1.95. Getting a little bit of color in my skin doesn’t hurt, either.

The driver of the B subway train that derailed in NYC earlier this week tested positive for cocaine after the accident, but MTA authorities don’t think that the cocaine actually played a role in the accident. (Apparently, the only way a driver can derail a train is by traveling too fast through a switching area, but all indications are that the train was going as slowly as it should have been.)

The Baptist General Convention of Texas, by far the largest state contingent in the Southern Baptist denomination, is considering cutting all ties with the national Southern Baptist Convention — it seems that they’re sick of the neo-rightwing positions taken by the national group. They represent 14% of the money going to the national organization, and over 17% of the members; if they break off, they would be the ninth largest denomination in the country.

Have I mentioned how much I like Dahlia Lithwick? (Of course I have.) She checked out a Hillary Clinton stump event in the Bronx this week, and has filed a hilarious dispatch from the front lines. Fundamentally, this article strikes a cord with me because I completely agree with Lithwick — “Hillary’s frustration can only be attributable to the fact that she is a smart, talented, ambitious woman who is loathed for no discernible reason.” I can’t say how many of my friends plan to vote against her, and can provide absolutely no reason for this except “I just don’t like her!” Very strange.

Three Spanish tennis players, two of whom are ranked in the top 15 players in the world, are threatening to withdraw from Wimbledon this year. The reason is because Wimbledon traditionally ignores the world rankings of ATP, instead inventing their own ranking and seeding system, and all three Spanish players have been ranked as unseeded in this year’s competition.

Eric Alterman has a pretty damned fine column on the leaked information that a DOJ lawyer has recommended appointing an special prosecutor for Gore’s fund raising history. I truly believe that the entire oversight system is diseased and gasping for breath; I also believe that any party that feels that using special or independent prosecutors to do their dirty work deserves what will happen when they succeed, find themselves in power, and discover that the same exact tools are being used against them. (Of course, Gore has done the respectable thing and released all 150+ pages of transcripts of the DOJ meeting in order to head this thing off early.)

Hmmm… now there’s a web Napster client. Personally, I kinda like the spunk of the person or people behind Stop Napster, a website devoted to ideas and plans of how to pollute the Napster waters with incorrectly-titled songs and the like.

Start warmin’ up that plane to Havana… Elian’s goin’ home! And, much like the original decision by the Appeals Court, this decision was unanimous and was terminated by strong wording (emphasis added by me):

Expect no motions to stay the issuance of the mandate to be granted. All injunctions in this case will dissolve on Wednesday, 28 June 2000, at 4:00 in the afternoon (Atlanta time). All further requests for stays or for injunctive relief should be directed to the Supreme Court of the United States.

We love Zannah, for she has alerted us to the existence of an autopsy of a Magic 8-Ball. (OK, we love Zannah for so many other reasons, too, but right now, this one overwhelms all others.)

After the past two columns by Ed Foster in InfoWorld (both about the fact that services providers like FreeDSL, Yahoo, and GeoCities all have Terms of Service that allow them to make legally-binding changes without any form of notification), I thought to myself that it would be tres easy to put together a website that loads these sites’ Terms of Service every day, compares them to the prior day’s, and publishes any changes. I mean, this should be trivial. Are there any takers out there?

If your goddamn life is so hurried that you have to honk at, weave through, and cut off funeral processions, then you may well be the most pathetic excuse for an assemblage of carbon that exists on this here planet.

MIT’s Technology Review has a superb article about real-time video editing. It starts off with the stuff that we all know about, like adding or deleting ads from live video, or adding first-and-ten markers to a football broadcast. From there, though, it talks about processing live reconaissance video from drone military planes, comparing it to previously-captured images of the terrain in order to identify moving or changing targets. The applications of this technology are scary; it is no longer possible to be sure that what we’re seeing is real, in any sense of the word.

I really think that John Rocker should announce exactly when he’ll be on the number 7 train out to Shea next week; I have lots of friends who would want to be on that train.

In New York, huge crime stories have the capacity to spin out of control, quickly turning into polarizing racial issues. The Central Park molestings two weekends ago, coming at the tail end of the Puerto Rican Day parade, didn’t do that. Why? Slate guesses at the answer. In a nutshell, they believe that it’s because (a) actual crimes were committed, (b) they were committed by memebrs of disadvantaged groups (blacks and Latinos), and (c) they were committed against another disadvantaged group (women). (Thanks for the heads-up on the misattribution, Clay!)

You should eat more, Dad… you’re really skin and bones these days.

I’m at the hospital right now, which is a Netscape shop. They have totally disabled any ability to configure Netscape, and have preconfigured it to disallow all cookies, and to only load a page one time per session, serving it from the cache for all other times during that session. You can’t change this. Why is this a problem? ANY website (including this one) that requires cookies for interaction doesn’t work. So I had to be sneaky, and figure out a way to get Internet Explorer to run, in order to type this paragraph. (The funny thing is that the security restrictions on the machine prevent me from typing in a URL, so I had to wind my way around the web until I was able to get to a search engine, and they search for Q, in order to get here. Thank goodness a few search engines have indexed Q.) I’ll update later, though, when I have better web access.

Yuck… a New York subway derailed today, injuring lots of people. It seems, though, that as subway derailings go, this one was the best possible — nobody has died, and it looks like it will be easy for them to get the trains back into service.

The Yankees, all of a sudden, are playing real baseball. Two nights ago, they beat the Red Sox 22-1. Last night, they won again, Andy Pettite outpitching Pedro Martinez with 7 2/3 shut-out innings. They also traded Jim Leyritz for Jose Vizcaino, getting some badly needed backup to Chuck Knoblauch at second base. (For those out of the know, Knoblauch is currently battling mental demons that are preventing him from throwing the ball well. Late last week, he pulled himself from a game after getting three errors in as many innings; two nights later, he threw a ball high to first base, hitting Keith Olbermann’s mom, sitting in the stands, in the face.)

I had no clue that Deja pulled the old (pre-mid 1999) Usenet archives down. That sucks. When they went all corporate and shit, I thought to myself that this would happen someday; I hope that they at least pass on the data to someone else if they decide not to put it back online.

“Fans” of the L.A. Lakers smashed store windows, lit police cars on fire, looted, and trashed a news van after the Lakers won the NBA Championship last night. I don’t even know what to say… what total morons.

Read these in order:

Wendell’s back! There are two big new projects, it seems: Linkin’ Log (which looks to be a “traditional”-type log), and Blog Party (which looks to be in the vein of WWWW). Both Neale and Wendell have now moved to the separate link log and meta log; was there some shift in the force that I didn’t sense?

Microsoft filed their arguments against moving the trial directly to the Supreme Court yesterday, and had two arguments lauded by law analysts on both sides of the fence:

  • there’s absolutely no law that would allow the portion of the lawsuit filed againt Microsoft by the states to be appealed directly to the Supreme Court. The Expediting Act, which is the only law that governs this sort of thing, was written in 1974; the statue that allows states to bring federal antitrust lawsuits was written in 1976, and doesn’t give the states the same expediting ability. Thus, at absolute best, the DOJ could only appeal the federal part of the case directly to the Supreme Court.
  • the changes in Microsoft’s business ordered by Jackson (e.g., splitting up) take effect in 90 days, yet the Supreme Court won’t begin consideration of the expediting motion until sometime after that 90 day window, which means that Microsoft has no legal recourse to appeal the sanctions. While many Microsoft haters love this idea, there’s a problem — the ability to appeal any lower court ruling is called due process of law, and is a fundamental property of our legal system. (Many analysts think that Jackson’s 90-day window is his largest mistake in this trial to date, for this very reason.)

Yippee skippee! The Supremes today ruled 6-3 that prayers at school football games are just like prayers at any other school functions — verboten. The school district argued that football games are voluntary, not mandatory, and that the students themselves elected the people who gave the prayers; Justice Stevens, representing the majority, ruled that “School districts cannot exact religious conformity as the price of attending extracurricular events,” and “School sponsorship of a religious message is impermissible because it sends the ancillary message to members of the audience who are nonadherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community.” (The entire decision can be read here, in PDF form.)

In another decision I’m happy about, the Court held (via denial of review) that Louisiana cannot require school districts which teach the theory of evolution to also teach creationism. The logic was the same — that the law that would have required it is an impermissible mixing of government and religion — and not surprisingly, the voting blocs in both cases were the same (Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas on the minority side, and the other six Justices in the majority.) The PDF version of the decision is here.

I spent my whole day in the first of four intensive medical Spanish language classes, and I learned a lot about my brain. For instance, my four years of French are a lot closer to conscious memory than I previously thought; a number of times today, I read a Spanish phrase, and my brain quickly returned the French version thereof, rather than the English version. This is definitely one of those instances when I don’t get how I’m wired.

This makes me feel less-than-secure about flying out of LaGuardia, especially since nobody will confirm or deny that the air traffic controller at fault has been removed from his or her position in the tower.

Yummy yummy, new Bushisms of the Week. My favorite:

“I’m gonna talk about the ideal world, Chris. I’ve read—I understand reality. If you’re asking me as the president, would I understand reality, I do.”

MP3Lit has a hilarious taped call by comedian Mike Loew to an anti-abortion center online; I particularly love the part where the second woman comes online and screams how Mike has been deceived by Satan.

David Strom’s pseudoanalysis of the Realtime Blackhole List has been getting a lot of playtime, but it’s hard for me to see how it’s all that great. His biggest complaint seems to be that the RBL rules enforce a behavior — closed-loop confirmations on mailing lists — that isn’t an industry standard. So what? Closed mail relays used not to be an industry standard; you used to be able to send mail through any damn mail server you pleased. But in the interest of spam prevention, open mail relays are now verboten, as should be mailing lists that allow anyone to add anyone else to the list.

For those of you who are into such things, the CDC has a new set of growth charts available, and Austin Physician Productivity has already turned them into an app for your PalmPilot so you can instantly calculate percentiles for kids in your care.

If anyone finds one of these, I hereby declare that you must send it to me. I want it.

I agree with Gary Kaufman — it’s time to let Shoeless Joe into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Other players, with better evidence of game fixing, are in the HoF (e.g., Ty Cobb); Jackson’s performance, both over his career and in the Series that he was accused of fixing, definitely deserves recognition.

Uh oh — Julie, the Mormon girl on the Real World: New Orleans, is getting expelled from Brigham Young; it appears that her behavior on the show violated all kinds of school rules. Sucks for her, but she knew the rules…

I pointed to a few of Slate’s Diary series this past week, and have been working through most of them myself. When I got through Ben Stein’s entries, though, I almost had to vomit — I actually was a fan of his until I read them. He’s insufferable… he constantly talks about how much money he has, how many houses he has, how much power he commands, blah blah blah. Just shut the f!%* up!

Once again, I apologize — today has been an administrative, run around the hospital getting shit done until your knees fall off kind of day. It’ll be that way around here for a little while. Ack.

I’m not sure why yet, but I really like Doc Searls’ analysis of the Microsoft trial up through now.

I finally just read Courtney Love’s treatise on recording companies, technology, and sharecropping, and all I have to say is… wow. Very, very well-written, and if it’s a glimpse of reality in the market, then I feel much worse for artists than I previously did.

Salon has a pretty damn great summary and analysis of the Central Park groping incidents over this past weekend. And on a mostly-related issue, I agree with Cam on this one — there are inordinately more assholes who attend the Puerto Rican Day parade in New York than any other parade that I’ve seen. Every year, I watch people throwing all their trash into planters and the gutters; likewise, I stopped counting the number of people who I’ve seen urinating on the sides of buildings and cars during and after the parade. The night of the parade, the number of people who drive up and down Broadway honking their horns, playing their stereos at maximum volume, and screaming at the top of their lungs until 2 and 3 AM is astounding. Is this what the Puerto Rican community wants to have people associate their culture with? It’s very tempting when it’s this damn prominent only on their parade day.

Jessica Reynolds has one of the most beautiful, well-written, and flashback-to-childhood photo essays I’ve ever seen. Go see it. Now.

Today’s Slate diary entry (all week, emergency room doctor Jennifer Walser is writing ‘em) describes what a real ER is like. Surprisingly, it’s nothing like the eponymous NBC show.

I love this. On June 13th, Damien Barrett pointed to MacToolbox, but with the following warning: “Netscape crashes on much of this site because the designer uses too many nested tables.” Now, does anyone seriously believe that this is the site designer’s fault? Is there some IETF or W3C spec that defines a limit on nested tables after which Netscape is excused for crashing? Once again, the chorus sings — Netscape sucks.

Hank Barry, CEO of Napster, now claims that sharing copyrighted music over the Internet is legal. Next, he’s going to make gravity force things upward..

The summary from the second episode of Survivor is online. I really like the style of the person writing them — it echoes my thoughts while I watch shows like this. (I know, we’re now post-episode 3, but I’m not the one writin’ them, so don’t get on my back about it!)

This sucks — Grant Hill, of the Detroit Pistons (but for how long?), is out of the Olympics. He broke his ankle during the playoffs this year, and his injury is going to prevent him from playing in Sydney.

I didn’t realize that Mozilla’s Milestone 16 release was out, as of Tuesday. Seeing as almost all the bugs that matter to me were moved to some heretofore future release, I don’t know if I’ll be downloading it, though — I think I need to let it ripen a bit more.

The Bucks County Courier News has an article about the kitten with two faces that I talked about earlier in the week. I love the name that the family had chosen for the kitten — Image.

John Rocker, repugnant member of the Altanta Braves organization, is apparently a good pitcher again; he’s been called back out of the minors. The most exciting thing about this is that he’ll be able to make the series against the Mets in two weeks; I wonder if the fans out at Shea will give him any breaks, or if they’ll all show up with D batteries filling every pocket.

From MetaFilter comes a decent Inside.com story about yet another company that made the idiotic decision to not encrypt and/or destroy their old email — Napster. Turns out that early email between the company’s founders openly discusses the fact that the service would be used to exchange copyrighted music (and the illegality of this). Doh!


I have had one of those tired-to-the-very-core-of-my-existence days, so perhaps I’ll update later. Until then…

OK, fine, I couldn’t resist one post. Today, the Southern Baptist convention in Orlando solidified my feelings about religion by declaring that women aren’t fit to be pastors, since the “office of pastor is limited to men by Scripture.” Idiots. (Isn’t this the same religion, though, that has disposed of part of the Scripture? Specifically, they forbid the drinking of any alcohol, despite the fact that wine plays a major role in various tracts of the Bible.)

OK, I feel a journal-ish entry coming on.

Quick day 2 summary: the student health services group at my former medical school is run by frickin’ idiots (who lost all records of my PPD placements and vaccine titers), my co-residents are all very, very cool, and I think I’m going to have a ton of fun this year. I definitely chose the right field.

Longer diatribe: today, I learned a few things, some cool, some not-so-cool.

First, I learned that a patient that I took care of for a long time (late last year) died earlier this year. He was a young kid from the Dominican Republic, who arrived at our emergency room direct from his flight into Kennedy; he brought papers declaring himself in need of a bone marrow transplant. Unfortunately, a transplant was not warranted for his condition (a metastatic form of leukemia) — in the most direct analysis, there was no evidence that it would help him at all, so every level of the hospital fought him and his family. When the family ended up raising the cost of the transplant and recruiting a private doctor to perform it, the hospital gave in and allowed use of the facilities and inpatient resources, but the graft did not take, and he died. And while I agree with the entire way that the course played out in his case, his death saddened me tremendously today.

Second, I learned that there are certain bureaucracies that you just cannot beat. Forget Bell Atlantic, Time Warner, or the IRS, the worst by far is my former medical school’s health services department. They lost all records of most of my immunizations and immunity tests, and no matter who I elevated the matter to, the answer was just as nonsensical. This means that my residency clearance will take twice as long, as my new occupational health department embarks on some completely ridiculous testing procedures to “clear” me.

Lastly, I learned that people who go into pediatrics are the kind of people that I want in my life. Everyone — from my chief residents down to my co-interns — is easygoing, understanding, and as concerned about the quality of our lives as he or she is about the quality of our residency. The people who comprise the team with whom I work first are great; I can already tell that the month of July will be made much, much easier by them and their attitude towards work. This makes me very happy.

This week, Slate’s Diary is by Jennifer Walser, an E.R. doctor at some New York hospital; her first entry shows that sometimes, the assumptions that doctors make about patients and their motives are just plain wrong.

After reading Walser’s entry, I went back and looked at all of the diaries that Slate has published. There are some amazing ones in there — three sets that I really enjoyed reading were those of Mary Manhein, a forensic anthropologist, Leslie Carr, a school nurse, and Michael Harrison, a boarding school dean. (Remember that there are five entries to each diary, one per weekday; it’s kinda hard to notice at first.)

Time to go to day 2 of orientation. More later!

Today starts the next chapter in my life — I start my pediatrics residency! I really haven’t been able to sleep for the past few days; it still seems so strange to me. Of course, we have orientation for two weeks, so hopefully I’ll be acclimated by the time I start on the inpatient wards at the end of June.

OK, I’m back from orientation, day 1. A few cool things to know:

  • there’s a website that handles all of the residency scheduling stuff (who’s on call, when, when is clinic, etc.) for residency programs all over the country;
  • my residency program is pretty cool in that the alumni association pays for my membership in the American Academy of Pediatrics;
  • my residency is 25% male, 75% female, yet I think maybe only three or four of the women are not married;
  • my residency is very serious about enforcing limits to work hours — the department secretary pages us at 10:30 AM on our post-call days to make sure that we aren’t in the hospital anymore;
  • I can never, ever, ever be on call on Monday night, since part of enforcing work hour limits means that I can’t be on call the night before I have my clinic, which is Tuesday. (I guess this means I need to find a bunch of people who go out drinking every Monday night!)

Researchers in my old hometown have found an interesting (but logical) conclusion: marital stress increases one’s risk of developing type II diabetes. It’s been known for a while that there is a pool of people who are at higher risk of diabetes; it’s thought that a stressful marriage is one of the factors that helps select those from this pool that go on to develop the disease.

Another ex-Yankee with drugs in his past rejoins the fold. I’m not sure how I feel about this, although it makes perfect financial sense (Tampa Bay still owes Gooden the majority of his salary, so the Yankees are taking nearly no risk).

Jason Hopper, of the California legal newspaper The Recorder, takes a look at Judge Jackson’s uncoventional interviews just after his Microsoft verdict. I didn’t know that Jackson had actually been taken to court (so to speak) because of an interview he granted after sentencing Marion Barry to jail; Jackson apparently doesn’t read judicial canon 3A(6) the same as most other judges. (That canon reads that a “judge should abstain from public comment about a pending or impending proceeding in any court.”)

Law.com’s bar·ometer makes a point I hadn’t though of — isn’t the Marion Jones commercial, which laments the fact that women athletes don’t make as much as men despite working just as hard, actually a Nike commercial? And isn’t Nike the company that uses Far East sweatshops to produce its products? And don’t those people work just as hard as American garment workers, yet get paid a very small fraction of their salaries?

Ugh! I saw the picture of the kitten with two faces on the AP photo wire this week, and fell in love. Yesterday morning, though, the kitten died… that wrecks my day.

Wow — despite not knowing what I’d do with it, I want a CerfBoard. (It’s a mini-mini-webserver which runs Linux and has a CompactFlash+ slot, built-in ethernet, USB, and serial ports, and a whole lot more.)

Alan Barra, sports columnist for the Wall Street Journal (I had no idea that such a job existed!), looks at the John Rocker saga and concludes that if he were playing well, it wouldn’t matter what he says. He’s right, too — the sports industry has never been good at hiding the fact that wins and losses matter much, much more than setting good examples and being good people. Just ask Ray Lewis, Dennis Rodman, Latrell Sprewell, Bobby Knight…

Because TerraServer-surfing appears to be the thing to do, last night I found my childhood home. (The big lot northwest from my home is where I learned how to play sports; it’s also where I learned that despite him being older, the fact that my brother was also smaller and lighter meant that I owned him.) I also found my high school, my middle school, and my swimming center. Both Matt and Ev are right — it’s a little spooky seeing all of my childhood places in bleak grayscale satellite images.

There’s something to be said for park crushes — when you’re out in the park, doing your thing (rollerblading and reading on the Great Lawn, in my instance), and someone just catches your eye and doesn’t let go. Of course, for me, when that person then reaches into her bag, pulls out a cigarette, and lights up, it’s like one of those record-scratch TV moments; time to find another crush.

Maybe I should be careful when I’m in the Park, though — the first few birds infected with West Nile virus have been confirmed.

Hee hee — there’s a small controversy in Washington about what Neil Armstrong actually said when he disembarked from the Eagle and became the first person to walk on the Moon.

Hmmmmm… because TiVo and ReplayTV owners are skipping through commercials on their recorded programs, the networks are pressuring the companies to remove the fast-forward and skip-ahead buttons from the units. In addition, both companies are looking into putting commercials into the recorded programs — either at the beginning and end, or in the time when you pause playback — that cannot be skipped. Looks like my VCR has a future…

Until recently, I had no idea that a friend of mine from college writes for McSweeney’s. Awesome.

In a contest for the most outrageous expense, judged by Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert), Oregonian Dan Wolff won for his expense of two voodoo dolls. The dolls were bought on a company trip and were going to be used to curse a critic of his company; he chickened out and didn’t go through with the curse, though.

You know how your MasterCard and Visa cards are issued by banks, and your American Express isn’t? That may not always be how it is; AmEx is claiming that MasterCard and Visa have illegally prevented them from using banks as issuers, and a court is allowing the case to go forward.

iron giant and hogarth

Hogarth, Hogarth, where art thou, Hogarth? Ahhh, there, under the chair, you were merely asleep. Don’t scare me like that.

Yet another place for me to get into trouble. Jenn’s move to the Gore 2000 campaign has left her ethically unable to maintain her political log, ANPA, so she’s left keys to the joint with a couple of us miscreants. Now I have another place to lean, politically-speaking.

New York Today (the to-do-around-town website of the New York Times) had an article yesterday that cracked me up — it’s about how the size of New York City apartments has created a niche business for designers, all with the goal of making tiny space into functional space. One guy has his bed against the ceiling, and lowers it with a series of pulleys and counterweights; another family has spare chairs hanging from the walls. New Yorkers will chuckle with recognition…

Another trojan has been detected, of course in an attachment. (I have no clue how it distributes itself, though, and the advisory doesn’t say.) It runs processes that allow crackers to control your machine, and then connects to an IRC server to broadcast that your machine is ready to be taken over.

Once again, Joel Spolsky delivers with another strategy letter. This time, he talks about barriers to entry, how successful companies have dealt with them, and how failure to address them makes yours an unsuccessful company.

Regarding the reprieve granted to death row inmate Ricky McGinn, Slate took a look at Dubya’s claim that he applied the same standards he’s applied to all executions under his governorship, and they didn’t like what they saw. The centerpiece of the article: the case of Jerry Lee Hogue, who proclaimed his innocence until the end, who had legitimate claims of innocence, and who also asked for a confirmatory DNA test — and was denied this request by Bush. Poor man didn’t have the luck of having his execution scheduled in an election year…

Who knew Texas would prove to be one of the more progressive states in declaring sodomy laws unconstitutional? In the words of the Texas appeals court, the problem with the laws is that “the simple fact is, the same behavior is criminal for some but not for others, based solely on the sex of the individuals who engage in the behavior.”

Law.com has a good column on music sampling — generally, the issues involved with bands sampling the music of other people, and specifically, the lawsuit brought by James Newton over the use of a central portion of one of his songs by the Beastie Boys.

If I had to make a list of the coolest physiological structures on this here planet, gecko feet would certainly be on it. We used to have geckos all over the place in San Antonio, and being fascinated watching them effortlessy crawl anywhere was a big part of my childhood.

For all you New Yorkers out there, just what you didn’t want to know about your favorite restaurants.

Wendell, Wendell, where art thou, Wendell?

I can’t even begin to understand how this man’s vision returned after ten years of blindness. I actually couldn’t stop thinking about this while trying to fall asleep last night, and I’m stumped.

The John Rocker saga continues — he’s now considering not showing up for the minors, instead going to business school to complete his degree and becoming a stockbroker. Scariest to me is that he blames Jeff Pearlman, the SI reporter, for all of his problems; he claims that had Pearlman apologized to him “for everything [I’ve] been through,” he wouldn’t have confronted him this past weekend and threatened him. UPDATE: Rocker reported to the minors today, seemingly opting to put his stockbroker career on hold.

The Microsoft ruling doesn’t surprise me a bit, but only because I don’t think that Judge Jackson could have pigeonholed himself as a more partial judge if he tried. There are still two possible steps remaining in this trial (Federal Appeals Court and Supreme Court), so I’ve found that I’m totally uninterested in the spin from both sides right now. What I do find shocking, though, is that Judge Jackson would grant interviews with the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal in a case which is still open, and in which he still has decisions to make. He is truly shameful.

Also, I still firmly believe that any move to fast-track the case directly to the Supreme Court is merely an attempt to avoid the Appeals Court which has previously ruled unanimously against Jackson, accusing him of abuse and a tendency to invent judicial powers where there are none.

yeah, but more than 100,000 people are killed in the US every year by the drugs doctors routinely prescribe, and another 100,000 people (conservative estimate because of the ethical failure of doctors in underreporting) are killed by medical errors, so don’t you think that ‘catching’ 23 women in six years with an extremely rare mental disorder — where the kids did not even die! — kind of pales in comparison to much bigger problems (i.e., 200,000 deaths) caused by the doctors themselves? Physicians, heal thine own confused and extremely dangerous system first!

A healthcare company in Atlanta ran a study in which they placed secret cameras in certain pediatric hospital rooms in order to catch mothers inducing illness in their children. This phenomenon, in actuality a disease called Munchausen by proxy, is scary; I’ve been involved in diagnosing it, and it’s never an easy thing to suspect, to accept, or to report. (Interestingly, Munchausen by proxy occurs more with mothers who work in the healthcare field, and thus have some knowledge of how to manipulate the system.)

More Dubya hypocrisy: despite his strong and frequent disparaging of casinos and gambling, tomorrow Bush will be attending a quarter-million dollar fundraiser hosted by the following people:

My favorite part, though, is that Dubya still claims that he just won’t accept money from gaming PACs; if this isn’t the same as the supposed distinction Clinton tried to draw with the term “sex,” then I don’t know what is.

Al Franken has written a dead-on editorial pleading with ABC to not bring Rush Limbaugh onto the staff of Monday Night Football. As a man whose only football experience was playing on his high school team (and who lied about said experience when talking about why he was deferred from the draft), and as someone with the ability to let the most offensive and inexcusable statements pop out of his mouth, I just don’t think I’d be watching MNF any more.

As if Worldcom doesn’t have enough to deal with, yesterday the company agreed to pay $3.5 million in penalties resulting from slamming, or changing consumers’ long distance carriers without permission. Slamming is the lowest form of low; I’ve always thought that the ultimate penalty should be an enforced period during which a company cannot sign up new long-distance customers, period.

Say what you will about Mozilla, but their bugtracking system has given me my share of laughs. Yesterday, I was surfing through it, looking at the status of some bugs that I’ve reported, and I came across a big FTP bug. Currently, you can only have one FTP download going at any point in time; if you click on a second FTP download while the first is still going, the second won’t start until the first ends. The funny part, though, is the response that Bill Law entered into the ticket when he was asked to justify fixing this bug:

Because it sucks to request some action and get no response till some random point in time later, and, to get bogus feedback on what’s happening. People will find other software that doesn’t present such obstacles and use that instead. That sucks.

Also from Bugzilla comes a pointer to a page that describes the proper inheritance rules for when there’s an HTML definition of an object that contradicts a CSS definition of the same object. (This is a big issue in Mozilla’s handling of tables right now.)

I don’t know why, but I think it’s cool when someone writes their own bit of software to make their weblog database-driven. Dan’s weblog, BrainLog, is driven by PHP and MySQL; pre-Blogger, Meg’s MegNut was run out of a SQL Server database. (Of course, both Manila and Blogger maintain their data in databases, as well, but people can and do use those without ever seeing how they work or tinkering. It’s that tinkering that I think is so neat.)

Ever since I read High Fidelity, I’ve had a goal — to learn to throw around British slang and cursing like a pro. That’s why I was so happy to get my unexpected first lesson today from Katy: “Bugger arse shit stinkbadger buggery buggery bollocks.” And then, within minutes, Prolific sent me to a British slang dictionary — I’ve found my textbook!

From Firda comes Rock-Paper-Scissors-Spock-Lizard, the single-hand game for the new millennium.

There’s a bug with how Internet Explorer checks SSL certificates in certain cases; Microsoft has already issued a patch for the problem for IE 5.01, and will have the patch for IE 4 soon.

*frown* I’m supposed to go see the Mets play tonight, but it’s raining! Best laid plans… I hope it doesn’t rain for the concert in the Park tomorrow night.

I don’t get how the Xenote iTag works. How is a radio-station “Xenote-enabled”? What does the iTag record when you push the button? Update: Brennan has the answer. (Get permanent bookmarks, Brennan!)

Napster has struck a deal with Offspring that will prevent the company from being in the uncomfortable position of defending its copyright while allowing others’ copyrights to be trampled.

John Rocker has been banished to the minors. The Braves are claiming that it’s because his arm is in terrible shape, but it’s clear that this is part of his punishment. Interestingly, if Rocker remains in the Minor League for over 20 days, he won’t play the requisite number of days in the Majors to qualify for salary arbitration next year; without arbitration, Rocker will probably lose around $2.5 million of his salary money next year.

And in other sports news, the world apparently isn’t quite done with Bobby Knight. First, the Louisville Courier-Journal pubished a report this week detailing exactly how complicit Indiana has been in Knight’s behavior, and how little they’ve done about it in the last 27 years. The report is damning — for example, IU president Myles Brand met with a disciplinary committee about Knight nearly a week before the CNN/SI report showing Knight choking Neil Reed, about many of the allegations of which Brand later said the school had never been notified. And then, if that’s not enough, Ron Felling (the assistant coach that was fired after being attacked by Knight) is suing Knight and Indiana for $1 million, saying not only that he was attacked but that Indiana has never disciplined Knight, creating an atmosphere that allowed Knight to remain violent and confrontational.

I followed the link to the list of ten such plays, confident that every single one of them would be by either a 2B or a SS. Imagine my surprise when I saw that two of them had been done by first basemen.

How the heck does a first baseman perform an unassisted triple play?

It’s obvious how a 2B or SS does it: catch a fly, tag second base for a man from second who ran, and wait for and tag a guy coming in from first.

But how does a first baseman do it? Even without the infield fly rule, I can’t think of a plausible scenario which doesn’t have him WAAAY out of position. (Of course, an unassisted double play is easy for a first baseman.)

I just stumbled across possibly the single best Central Park reference in all the world. I **heart** this site.

NO!!! AP is reporting that APBNews.com has run out of money and fired its entire staff. I love APBNews — it’s a great source of news about law enforcement, the law, and the judicial system. Their fight to open what are supposed to be public Federal judicial disclosure forms is a fight that needs to continue.

In Troxel v. Granville, the Supreme Court today struck down the Washington law that allowed non-parents and non-relatives to petition for child visitation rights against the wishes of the child’s parents “so long as a parent adequately cares for his or her children.” Interestingly, the case generated six decisions, none of which were joined by a majority of five or more Justices; all summed up, though, the decision was 6-3.

In addition, the Court struck down the Ken Starr indictment against Webster Hubbell — the Justices ruled 8-1 that Starr’s office used documents against Hubbell that were obtained under a grant of immunity to him, and thus violated his right against self-incrimination.

I found out about SurvivorSucks.com just in time for this week’s episode. I particularly like the haiku section, although you would have to have seen the first episode to understand Susan’s haiku.

I honestly thought that John Rocker was making progress, concentrating on his game and getting past the SI article that exposed him as an intolerant lout with poor judgment. Then yesterday, he went and threatened the author of that article, Jeff Pearlman, in a Turner Field tunnel before the Yanks/Braves game. Unbelievable.

Of course, not all’s rotten in the game of baseball. On Monday of last week, Randy Velarde turned an unassisted triple play in Oakland’s game against the Yankees. This is an amazingly difficult feat to pull off; for those non-baseball people out there, it means that one player got all three outs of the inning on the same play. Baseball historians place the likelihood of it happening in a game at lower than those of being struck by lightning. As evidence of that, it was only the tenth unassisted triple play in the history of baseball.

So goes life in a love-hate marriage: Tommy Lee spent Memorial Day weekend in jail after his adoring wife, Pamela Anderson Lee, reported him to the District Attorney. What did she report? His parole violation of drinking champagne on New Year’s Eve, while celebrating with her. They are such a healthy couple.

Wow, I just wasted a little too much time reading The Tick FAQ (not about little bugs, but instead about the splendiferous comic book and animated series that, sadly, has gone the way of the dodo bird).

This weekend, I discovered Chuck Musciano’s Tag of the Week column on WebReview, and it’s a great find. He’s been writing it since January 1998, and for the past ten months, he’s been covering every single CSS topic imaginable. This week’s column (on the clear and display elements) is the last on CSS; next week, he starts looking at XHTML.

Oh wow oh wow oh wow — PEZ!!! I’ve never seen the Simpsons Pez dispensers, or the Kermit one. Memories, memories.

Proof of Matt’s Iron Giant has finally arrived. You’re doing the right thing, Matt — free the Giant and have a robot fight with Meg!

What an amazing, amazing column on the linguistic inadequacies of Dubya (“President Jabberwocky”), and why they disqualify him from running the United States.

Every sentence is an adventure. Will he reach the end of it? What fiendish grammar monsters and vocabulary mutants are waiting to trip him up? Curious George Loses his Synapses. I honestly think that once the man starts a sentence, he’s forgotten exactly what he’s said by the time he’s three or four words into it.

I also find it amazing that Mike doesn’t recognize the difference between a person running for President of the United States and a person who maintains a personal weblog. Oh, and if you want to pick hairs, Mike, the second bit you quote is a typo, not a grammatical error, and I’m sure you’ll find more of them here on Q, just as you will find both on (“wihtout”) your (“Amercan”) own (“if a sure-fire recipe”, first paragraph) site (split infinitive “to even make”, third paragraph). (Thanks for pointing my errors out, though; they’re fixed.)

My last contribution to this silliness, since I tire of it quickly: I have never said that Bush’s grammar is the mark of his idiocy — it is one mark, a confirmatory piece of evidence, if you will. (Other bits of evidence exist, as well, and my feeling is that they all add up to a scary package.) And I am perfectly willing to be judged by my own standard — I hereby proclaim that my typos and grammatical errors should be used against me if I ever run for President. Hell, I’ll even host a website detailing them.

Remember the potato-powered webserver? It was a hoax.

The worst-case scenario is coming true for Oregon’s new law that forces open adoption and birth records. Patrick Niiranen killed his adoptive parents — bludgeoned them to death with a sledgehammer — and has now requested the original records to identify his birth mother. The Oregon law has no exceptions that will prevent the release of the information.

One thing that bothers me about this is that the courts and authorities claim that their hands are tied in cases like this, where the information being released is about an ordinary citizen, but when it comes to releasing information about judges, they drag their feet, use every stall tactic in the book, and then overtly break the law by refusing release of the information. At least to me, it’s clear that releasing information about Niiranen’s birth mother is much more dangerous than releasing information about whether a judge has ruled in a case in which he or she has a financial stake; maybe it’s just me.

Damn the opensource community’s twofaced approach to the law. A few opensourcers are getting their panties tied in a knot over an apparent violation of the GPL by Microsoft. Why does this piss me off? Because this is the same community that is rallying around Slashdot in their open violation of well-established copyright law. (Of course, they are doing so simply because it is Microsoft’s copyright that is being violated, so they feel that it’s somehow less illegal.) I will repeat this again: the GPL only has legal standing because of copyright law. Thus, as a community, you look like total asses if you complain about someone violating the GPL, and rally behind someone violating the teeth behind the GPL.

Of course, the GPL violation seems to be due to Microsoft swallowing up Softway Systems and their products; the violation appears to have occurred under Softway, not Microsoft. This wouldn’t be a story if Microsoft weren’t accused, though, so it’s pretty clear why it’s playing out like it is.

Frickin’ Knicks. They’re out, for another year. (Although last year I forgave them, since my true love, the San Antonio Spurs, beat them.) In the postgame interviews, Patrick Ewing looked like he just wanted to jump off a cliff.

I saw Small Time Crooks last night, and while it was funny, it wasn’t even close to the movies of Woody Allen’s heyday. Michael Rapaport was pretty great, though.

Linux users are finally about to be able to legally watch DVDs. Cool.

I came across an interesting Windows 2000 security website last night; it seems to be part-information, part-advertisement, but it has a fair amount of good information for the Win2K beginner.

Any medical student could have told you that on average, women doctors have a better bedside manner.

I think it’s pretty damn funny that The Offspring are selling bootlegged Napster merchandise from their website. It’s a little strange, though, that a pro-Napster group is doing this; it seems logical that it would be someone like Metallica that forces Napster into the position of trying to defend its copyrights while flagrantly allowing the copyrights of hundreds of artists to be trampled.

Good luck to the New York women’s club rugby team, leaving this morning for Chicago for the National Championships! (Now, if only there were an ESPN-like website to keep track of the results this weekend…)

Yeah, maybe this is for other people too, but this link to the Peanuts tribute comics is mostly for me — I want to come back to it and savor them all.

I’m interested in getting a portable MP3 player, but I really want one that takes CompactFlash cards, rather than SmartMedia. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Wowzers — I had no idea that Ricky McGinn, the man whose execution Dubya stayed yesterday, would be dead by now had a tornado not leveled his defense attorney’s office the day before his initial execution date, April 27th. Of note, Bush didn’t step in before that execution date, despite the fact that the same evidence and the same arguments were present then as they were yesterday. Dubya is such an ass.

I knew I’d read a debunking of the lemming suicide myth before, and finally, I’ve found it again, thanks to memepool.

In another effort to prevent Elian and his father from leaving the U.S., Donato Dalyrmple, remora fish to the sharks of the Gonzalez family and the U.S. media, has filed an emergency motion to schedule depositions of both. Being that this was filed by the neoconservative group Judicial Watch (the lawyers for remoraboy in his $100-million-plus lawsuit against Reno and the INS), it’s hard to see it as anything more than additional stupidity, but I guess that’s for a court to decide. At least this article gets it right, though — the first paragraph refers to Dalyrmple as a housecleaner, not a fisherman.

SANS has published their list of the 10 Most Critical Internet Security Threats, along with advice on how to eliminate the threats. It’s not a bad document to start with if you’re a sysadmin who doesn’t keep up with security alerts for your operating systems; that being said, it’s just a starting point, and you should be subscribing to the various lists and other alert mechanisms that cover security for the systems that you run.

And then Elian was freed. The text of the unanimous decision is already online (CNN has the page scans with footnotes, and FindLaw has a PDF):

We have not the slightest illusion about the INS’s choices: the choices — about policy and about application of the policy — that the INS made in this case are choices about which reasonable people can disagree. Still, the choices were not unreasonable, not capricious and not arbitrary, but were reasoned and reasonable. The INS’s considerable discretion was not abused.

I’d love to think that Dubya recommending a reprieve for a Texas death row inmate isn’t political pandering, but I know I’d be wrong. (Of note, the recommendation in this case comes in the face of the Texas Parole Board voting 18-0 against commutation of the sentence and 11-7 against a one-time 30-day reprieve; this is only important because Bush has claimed in the past that he doesn’t intervene in death cases precisely because the Parole Board, not the governor, has ultimate authority over such things.)

Another big company unable to deal with a little parody.

An interesting twist in the constant battle between pharmaceutical companies and patients: a federal district court has given consumers individual standing to sue drug companies which illegally obstruct generic drugs from coming to market and competing. The drug at issue in this case: warfarin sodium, marketed as Coumadin by DuPont, which came off-patent in 1962 and is one of the most prescribed drugs on Earth.

I know this is being logged elsewhere, but I just wanted to express my own happiness about Salon jettisoning much of their recent redesign, keeping some of the visual niceties but also bringing back some of the functional niceties. Editor David Talbot has also written a letter to readers about the re-redesign, which is a great move.

A sad day — yesterday, NewsWatch ceased operations. NewsWatch was a website, run by the nonprofit Center for Media an Public Affairs, that was devoted to keeping a watchful eye on the mainstream media — they took looks at the media’s reporting of everything from the election to the AOL/Time Warner merger to Elian. The site will be missed. (Wired is covering the closure, as well.)

Wow — Jon came up with some pretty damn amazing links to things sport-related. To name a few: I had never seen the Nike soccer ad (“football” to all non-Americans), which I think is just friggin’ beautiful; he found the article about Dion Rayford getting stuck in a Taco Bell window after demanding his chalupa; and he uncovered the official sport of Maryland.

Linux Weekly News took a look at the webcam that powers QuesoCam2, and liked what they saw. I really like it; it’s a plug-and-play network device, trivial to set up, and has pretty damn great picture quality. What’s not to like?

From Dan: there’s a way to get pure digital output from DVDs, unencumbered by scrambling or MacroVision. It turns out that the DVD gurus thought about banning FireWire ports on DVD players, but neglected to ban SDI (serial digital interface) ports, the ports used by high-end big digital displays like plasma screens and projectors. I wonder how long it’ll be until the masters of DVD amend the rules…