matthew's blog

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OCM and Landing That Next Big Job

Confident, and competent. I don't know what I can do to try to reinforce it more than that: Confident and Competent!

OCM (Outplacement Counseling for Management) consultant Don Martin animatedly paced the floor, talking with his hands, his middle-aged face the picture of wisdom and experience in human resources.

"You're going to get a job. Just get past that thought that you're not right now. Every person in this room is going to have a job soon! I have this little paper," he said as he held up an 8.5 x 11 inch photocopy, "that describes the phases we go through in handling stress.

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George Bush and Money

Jon Brusco has an interesting take on George Bush Spending Our Money. I recently re-read this, and it bears mentioning again: we pay our soldiers pitifully for the risks they take. And we extravagantly overpay U.S. or other Western firms to undertake reconstruction that could be accomplished at a fraction of the cost by skilled local engineers and laborers in Iraq.

Oh, common sense, where art thou?

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LAN party

Oy, I went the whole weekend without a blog entry. Went to a LAN party at my buddy Damon's house over the weekend. Damon is just an incredibly cool guy. Anyway, the group of us twenty and thirty-something guys is called the ULANG, or Utah Local Area Network Gamers. We usually get about 9-15 people showing up to these things, which is just around the right size for Damon's house. Started at 7 PM, ended at 2 AM... these things rock.

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Avast, ye scurvy dog, an' have at thee!

In case ye be not knowin' it, 'tis Talk Like A Pirate Day. The honorable Wil Wheaton has posted himself one of them weblog entries in honor of tha celebration.

So, shorten yer mizzenmast and pander ta yer bilgewater, folks; foreshorten the yardarm and polish yer sideiron! Learn ta talk like a pirate yerself, and join the "festivities", missy! Land Ho!

Or something... I don't do that very well...

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Orson Scott Card on copyright

Many of us are probably familiar with Orson Scott Card through his fiction works, such as the immensely popular "Ender's Game".

Well, Orson has something to say on copyright, that rings true to most of us. The RIAA was launched from the obscure agency that gave away annual "gold" and "platinum" album awards, to being the vocal opponent of peer-to-peer file sharing several years ago as it received more money from the record studios it represented. It is now turning into a blatantly profiteering, slanderous, and anti-competitive organization bent on destroying any technology that might endanger its current profit model.

Copyright owners are speaking out. I join my voice with Card's in support of this essay:

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Sunday Sermon: Fixing the wrong problem

The sound of crying echoed down the hall, jolting my ears with the harsh harmonics natural to the vocal folds of your average one-year-old human child. For a few scant moments, in half-awake state, I reflected on how interesting it was that Nature has provided us with such a stimulus-response pattern, engendered in our forbears and, with rare exception, honored by parents, to force action to the distress of an infant. Equally remarkable are the changes to the tonality of their cries, such that even by the age of three years, their tone is not so tuned as to arouse paternal responses in strangers, but instead engender annoyance.

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Found an old friend!

I found an old friend's web site. Jenny Gagne! I'm pretty sure the name means nothing to most of you, but her site looks interesting and promotional of her artwork. Which reminds me, I need to get a "listen to my music" and "buy my music" link up here some time so people don't have to dig through months of old blog entries to find the songs that are going to show up on my CD in December.

Anyway, she keeps up with her weblog, I look forward to catching up on her life. We met back at Ridgeview Jr. High School. Unfortunately, I can't remember exactly how we met. I think it was just through a class or something. There are some stories that are incredibly vivid because they were so weird (like meeting Jon Brusco on the bus, that was a very odd encounter), but in Jen's case... darnit, I can't quite remember. I remember her little brother, Stefan was fun, but incredibly, incredibly brainy. He's pretty active in developing modules for Neverwinter Nights, a game I used to play more than I do now.

The older I get, the more I need friends who knew me when I was young.

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WWDN Memorial

Wil Wheaton's Web Site looks a little different today, September 11 2003. Check it out.

I'd totally spaced on what day it was today. Glad Wil's part of my tribe of humans.

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mod_gzip and

I just enabled mod_gzip for,, and I hope you notice a really big speedup! gzip compression is supported on newer versions of Internet Explorer, Mozilla, and other browsers.

Setting it up was a really straightforward process on this FreeBSD server (as root):

  1. # cd /usr/ports/www/mod_gzip/
  2. # make
  3. # make install
  4. I then edited /usr/local/etc/apache/httpd.conf and removed the pound sign from the front of these two lines:
    • LoadModule gzip_module libexec/apache/
    • AddModule mod_gzip.c
  5. Then I tacked the following lines onto the end of the httpd.conf:

    # [mod_gzip configuration]

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How to use WebCalendar

I noticed with interest that, although the product WebCalendar has an excellent installation guide, and decent on-line help, it has no real basic description of how to do things.

Since I work at a bank with non-technically-skilled co-workers, I felt we needed something that would gently introduce them to how to use WebCalendar. You are free to copy the below text for use on your own Intranet or wherever else; as usual, my blanket copyright at the bottom of this site covers this document as well as others. All I require is a prominent link back to the URL from which you initially copied the text.

If you choose to use this as an introduction for your users, won't you please leave a comment? It's not much, but it is encouraging.

I made one code modification to WebCalendar: I changed the includes/styles.php file, in the ".navlinks" section, to:

text-decoration: underline

My users are not very technically competent, and although the default css causes "hover" actions over links to glow, they still have trouble finding the links unless they are underlined like everywhere else on the web.

And away we go!


The WebCalendar program is remarkably simple to use, yet has some very powerful features if you choose to take advantage of them.

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