The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Write to sell

Hired Wrist, one of my clients, has a new Craigslist post:

Write to Sell
"Writing is easy; all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead."—Gene Fowler
Take it from someone who knows. I've been bleeding professionally for years.
If you are writing (or even thinking of writing) a screenplay, teleplay or novel, I can now offer you professional strength one-on-one consultation, analysis, guidance and instruction designed to dramatically and significantly improve the quality of your work. With over thirty years of remarkably successful professional writing experience, I will personally guide you through the complicated and often unforgiving landscape of the writer's world. If you want to write to sell, if you want to write better or even if you’ve never written before and have a burning desire to do so, let me help you get started. Together we can stop the bleeding.
Check out my qualifications, credits, achievements, awards and fees at

Share and enjoy.

Welcome to Broadband; and Borowitz is funny today

First, I'd like to welcome my mom to broadband. She's been on dial-up since she got her first home computer (in, I think 2001), but she finally got a cable modem. I clocked the thing at 9.1 Mbps downstream, which is about 160 times faster than her 56.6k analog modem.

I mention this because yesterday she asked me to pick up a copy of Turbo Tax at the store. I pointed out that, with a super-fast Internet connection, she could simply download the product and save a tree.

In an unrelated train of thought, Borowitz was funnier than usual today:

[O]ne day after published reports alleged that author James Frey had fabricated sections of his bestselling memoir, A Million Little Pieces, Mr. Frey was named chief spokesman for the U.S. Defense Department.

Finally, the new Webcam arrived from Logitech. I'll be testing it in the lab for a few days before replacing the main one—assuming the replacement works as hoped.

Why consulting is secondary to me

WinXP News today looks at the problem of getting things fast, cheap, and right. The adage in engineering is you can only have two. The adage in consulting is you can sell all three.

This is exemplified by a tongue-in-cheek conversation I had on the elevator this morning with the head of Q.A. for one of my clients:

QA Guy: I can't believe it's only Wednesday. I want it to be Saturday. You're a consultant; can you do something about that?

David: Sure, I can whip something up. Give me three days, and I'll have a Saturday for you.

He: Can you do any better than that?

I: Sure. I'm working on a faster process, which should be in production in about two days. I can get it to you about 18 hours after that.

He: Can't you off-shore the development?

I: As a matter of fact, our Fiji facility can get the job done 18 hours faster. They will probably finish in less than two days from right now. But I'll have to go to Fiji, which won't be cheap.

Comment problems?

I've heard that people are having trouble leaving comments on the blog. Please let me know if you try to leave a comment and get an error message. I have an idea why this is happening—Das Blog has some defects in the way it handles multiple time zones—and I need more data.

Thank you.

Pop goes the hard drive

This morning I've been working in the Inner Drive Technology Comprehensive Testing Facility, trying to read an ancient hard drive I discovered a while ago. I've tried many methods to read this old 130 MB disk. It has two files on it, a "readme" file dated 23 February 1995, and a Doublespace volume with the same date. In other words, this hard drive is a snapshot of what I was doing 11 years ago.

In order to read a Doublespace volume, you need MS DOS 6.22, Windows 95, or Windows 98. I haven't had a Windows 98 computer in years, but Inner Drive does have MSDN Universal—and the IDTCTF. So last week I built a Windows 98 installation out of a computer that was, in 1997, my Web server, but has since 2001 collected dust somewhere. Too much dust, apparently.

It turns out that this computer has a bad disk controller. So, Plan B, I plugged the Windows 98 hard drive and the ancient Doublespace drive into a different computer, reconnected the power cord, and got a spark, a pop, and a wisp of smoke from the 11-year-old drive.

There are very few things less common or more totally destructive inside a computer than an electrical arc followed by smoke. (Fortunately the disk cage was outside the box at the time, and the two drives were more than 5 cm (2 in) apart, so the damage was localized.) I can therefore report, with unusual certainty, that the oldest hard disk in my possession is now a large paperweight. (I'll have a memorial photo up tonight or tomorrow.)

Goodbye, "WinSwap." I hardly new ye.

Happy New Year!

Welcome to another year of the Blog.

Anne and I wound up at the Majestic Hotel right in the middle of our old neighborhood, and then we rang in the New Year at a (relatively) new bar on Clark Street, whose name escapes me. Lots of fun. Forgot the Champagne, though.

New Year's Resolution: 1024 x 768 (I'm using my laptop).

Complaints about the weather: None from me. It's 4°C (40°F) right now, which for a Chicago New Year's Day is delightfully warm. However, this guy that I saw on the way home from the El this morning would probably disagree:

Silliest news story of the day: Yesterday, a pack of chihuahuas attacked a cop in Fremont, Calif. The police officer received bite wounds to the ankle. No word on how far the chihuahuas got punted.

Don't forget, the holidays aren't over yet. Tonight is the last night of Chanukkah. Sunset in Chicago tonight is at 4:31pm; you can use the Weather Now calculator to find your city's sunset time. Check back later for a photo of the world's ugliest menorah in full bloom.

Another good article from the Tribune: Barbara Botman writes about New Orleans at New Year's. I recommend it.

Inner Drive Technology Comprehensive Testing Facility

For my last post of the year, I'd like to announce that the Inner Drive Technology Comprehensive Testing Facility is now complete, except for the Lab Cam, which should arrive from Logitech in about two weeks. (The dead one is visible in the upper-left corner of the photo below.)

Inner Drive's World Headquarters is now ready to face whatever challenges we may in 2006. Happy new year, everyone!

Runs in the family, apparently

I'm not the only one suffering techno-poltergeists this week. Anne just got this message from Google:

Lockdown in sector 4!
Our system indicates unusual usage of your account. In order to protect Gmail users from potentially harmful use of Gmail, this account has been disabled for up to 24 hours.

Jerome Leitner, my Wills professorGoogleing the email found that Google's own tools can trigger this lockout.

Did anyone notice the theme of all the technical issues we've had lately? An SBC router crashed, a Webcam fried, a voice-mail account deleted? They all have something in common, something my Wills professor would call "the Omnibus Explanation:" "The Omnibus Explanation, the thing that explains what logic and rational thought cannot, is stupidity."