After a few good years of service, my TiVo has finally died on me. Specifically, the modem has died, meaning that the little “Dialing…” spinny ball just keeps spinning and spinning and spinning, all the while never even grabbing the phone line. I’m at the point where television without TiVo is pretty much unthinkable, so now I get to go out and buy a new one, as well as fork over the money for the service plan. (It’s pretty irritating that the “lifetime service plan” for my current TiVo dies alongside the machine… I guess that’s how they make their money, though.) Since I’m still convinced that TiVo is the brand to get, I guess I’ll partake in the current $50 rebate; I’m just pissed that I didn’t take advantage of the offer to transfer service to a new box when I the promotion was running back in March.) Anyone have any better ideas?

Oh, for the love of f!*@, can we really not do anything about telemarketers? Looks like all we’re left with is the advice Dave Barry gave us — calling the American Teleservices Association as often as possible at the toll-free (to you, but not to them!) number (877) 779-3974 — and giving telemarketers a piece of their own action.

Update: it appears that the ATA has changed its number! The new number is: (866) 500-4272. How funny, though, that they changed their number, something that the millions of people that their members annoy really don’t have the luxury of doing…

Damn, this is cool: Recall, the new full-text search engine from the Internet Archive. What’s so cool about it? It searches all the pages of the Internet Archive, meaning that it will return hits from sites that haven’t existed for nearly a decade. Worth playing with when I get a little bit of time…
Two awesome new weblogs about journalism and the press: and PressThink. The former’s out of the American Press Institute, and the latter’s a product of New York University; both of them are going into my bookmarks bar so that I can spend time digesting what they’ve got to offer.
Dahlia Lithwick’s at it again, this time surmising that the Ninth Circuit’s decision to halt the California recall election was as much about showing the Supreme Court what Bush v. Gore would look like if its logic were extended to every election in the country as it was about enforcing fairness in the Golden State.
This morning, in a moment of absolute craving, Shannon and I decided to start hunting for good bagels in and around Brookline; the web page we found provides not only what seems to be a good list of Boston bagel shops, but also a good explanation of the difference between Boston-style bagels and New York-style ones. Of course (being that I’m a New York bagel snob) my favorite part of the page was:

David Lewis’s mini bagel FAQ:
Q. Does Bruegger’s make good bagels?
A. No.
Q. Does Dunkin’ Donuts make good bagels?
A. No.
Q. Does Einstein Brothers make good bagels?
A. No, but the stores are hip and trendy, so people claim to like their bagels.

The problem with the list is that there aren’t any New York-style places in Brookline; does anyone else have suggestions?
After today, I can make one solid educational point: an inadvisable way to end your work day is to spend the last three hours of it explaining to a sixteen year-old and his family that, despite aggressive chemo and other supportive treatment, he probably only has one or two days left to live. Having a teenager push away an oxygen mask to ask you how long he has left is pretty much the worst thing possible; it was all I could do to not break down sobbing during my conversations with the family. By the time I got home, I felt dull all the way down to my very core, a feeling which is only now starting to subside. I know that we do a lot more good for kids than we do harm, and I also know that this is all going to get easier; right now, though, I’d trade both of those things for a chance at giving my patient a little more time.
Now that Shannon is going to stay in Boston (did we mention that Shannon took a job in Boston?), we’re planning on turning the room at the back of the apartment into her study and crafts room. And rather than stringing a cat 6 cable all the way from there to the front of the apartment (where the T1 comes in), we’ve decided to do the wireless thing for her computer. Unfortunately, this is an old house, with plaster and lathe walls, so the WiFi signal really starts to wheeze a bit back there. I started researching stronger antennas, and eventually settled on a HyperGain 8 dBi Range Extender. Of course, in between I found a ton of confusing information and terminology. It took a bit of hunting around, but I finally found a few good references, and now I present them for you: Now, the next step is to get all of Shannon’s stuff out of storage in South Jersey…
Today represents chapter one in the book of why it’s not good to put too much faith in privately-run public resources on the Internet. Earlier, one of my friends dropped me an email asking if I could help figure out why a friendly piece of mail had been tagged as spam by SpamAssassin. Looking at the mail headers, SpamAssassin had added 3.5 points to the message’s spam score for being passed through mail servers that ostensibly were insecure, and 2.9 of those points were as a result of one of my mail servers being insecure. This set me off investigating, and after making sure that the accused mail server wasn’t actually the problem, I started looking into how it had made it onto the list of insecure machines. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that every single mail server on the Internet has been added to the insecure list, and that every mail system that consults the list is now using that information while making decisions about whether or not to deliver email sent through those servers.
The thing that depresses me the most about this is that the parents were taking their child to the Burzynski clinic, which is possibly the single most offensive affront to the practice of oncology. Worse than peddling useless therapy, Burzynski offers up false hope to a group of people who cling to whatever remnants of hope they can find, and offers it up for considerable personal profit.