Archive for the Photo Category

The Internet’s Landlord

Posted in miscellaneous, opinion, Photo with tags , , , , , , , , on 2012 October 25 by KLP

Data centers – Google Data centers

I noticed a link at the bottom of the Google Search page for a photo album of Google’s data centers. Not only do I appreciate the technology, logistics, and organization that the photos depict, but the photos themselves are really pretty, too.

However, the album’s title, Where the Internet Lives, concerns  me somewhat. Do we really want Google, or any large corporation, to be the Internet’s landlord? Perhaps we should strive for a more democratic, distributed, and decentralized Internet, where every household or community maintains its own servers and hosts its own members’ content.

If the Internet must have a landlord, what are the terms of the lease, and who pays the rent?

360 State: Rent and Taxes

Posted in opinion, Photo, politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on 2012 September 3 by KLP

image

Our aim is to be completely transparent, because we believe that a full examination of the facts will lead fair-minded people to urge the New Haven Board of Aldermen to hold the city to its word and fix the tax assessment for 360 State Street so that it is consistent with the projections that both the owner and the Board of Aldermen relied upon when they decided to move forward with the project.

So writes Alderman Doug Hausladen, of New Haven’s seventh ward, in the welcome message of the 360 State Tax Problem website. Of course, “fair-minded people”, or at least the constituents of New Haven’s working class, will not prevail, regardless of the outcome. Certainly, I would have a hard time arguing that the City of New Haven has acted fairly toward the Multi-Employer Property Trust (MEPT), given what I have heard about the situation. But, what does that matter when both parties are just fighting over how much each gets to extract from the product of 360 State’s tenants’ labor? It doesn’t, so proponents of a special reassessment shouldn’t pretend that the fates of the tenants are really at stake. The city is just trying to eat the MEPT’s lunch. Hausladen’s site argues that not modifying the assessment will harm the labor union pensions that the MEPT manages. But, what business do labor unions have playing landlords‽ Such behavior perpetuates the class system that labor unions are supposed to help dissolve. Effectively, 360 State’s high assessment will harm scabs, so maybe it’s a good thing in that regard. I realize that most union membership has disturbingly little control over the unions they constitute, so that was a bit harsh of me. My point is that union labor should make investments that will help, not exploit, other workers. So, that argument won’t sway me. The last major argument Hausladen puts forth states that not modifying the assessment will scare away other investors from New Haven. Perhaps that is true, but even if the city does modify the assessment, its leaders have already damaged its reputation. Furthermore, such investment hurts New Haven. Sure, 360 State is pretty and I enjoy many of the businesses to which it rents, but all that rent money leaves the city. Instead, the city needs to somehow attract investment that will keep ownership local, preferably with the residents and businesses who occupy such spaces. If the “tax problem” deters landlord investors, like MEPT, hopefully that will make room for more wholesome investors.

Anyway, those are my reasons why, as a working-class New Haven resident, and a member-owner of the Elm City Market, I don’t see the situation as a serious controversy. Please, don’t construe these words as an endorsement for a particular outcome. Pragmatically, I would prefer that the city honor its original assessment and I do view these events as another unfortunate example of the city’s leaders’ myopia, but I just wanted to address the issue from an underrepresented perspective.

Apparently 1-800-Flowers.com doesn’t think they’ve screwed over enough people.

Posted in beer, Photo, projects, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2009 December 14 by KLP

Today, I got a check in the mail for $9.25 from 1-800-Flowers.com. I assumed that this check was the outcome of some sort of class action lawsuit in which I was an unwitting plaintiff. I mean, I believe it was last Mother’s Day that they delivered a product inferior to the one I ordered to my mother, and failed to deliver the one Kat ordered for hers, and never produced any sort of refund. Surely, others suffered from this terrible service as well, so I reasonably figured that such a lawsuit had occurred.  Then, I realized that Kat hadn’t received any such check, so I decided to read the fine print.

By cashing this check I agree to a thirty-day trial offer in Elite Excursions. I understand that the $19.99 monthly fee will be automatically charged to my card on file with 1-800-FLOWERS.COM unless I cancel my membership by calling 1-866-709-2905 before the end of the trial period… By cashing this check I authorize 1-800-FLOWERS.COM to securely transfer my credit card information to Elite Excursions for enrollment, billing and benefit processing.

Yeah. Would you, at the suggestion of a company that had ripped you off once before, sell your credit card information to a company you’d never heard of for $9.25? You be the judge, Internets.

As some of my readers may know, I married Kat on June 20 of this year. She’s awesome. She’s sexy. She’s smart. She may or may not know what she’s gotten herself into. And all that makes me very lucky. I had thought about chronicling the wedding, honeymoon, and the preceding events, but I can’t possibly do it justice. In fact, I’d almost prefer that the stories of our wedding exist only as an oral history, aging for the sake of occasional tastings, like a good vintage, or more appropriately, a dark, potent brew. So, I’ll stick to something I had hoped I would write about more often when I started this blog: beer.

I prepared a really awesome gift for my groomsmen. It consisted of a homemade Oktoberfest contained in fancy, swing-top style bottles. Each bottle bared a hand-made label, and came packaged with a pint glass, hand-etched with the groomsman’s initials. Pat Faust, the wife of Dennis at Brew and Wind Hobby in East Hartford, did the calligraphy and screen-printing for the labels as well as the glass etching. I had the beer brewed and bottled for sometime prior to the wedding, but I waited until about 10 days before the wedding before I came up with the label idea and started looking for someone to make it and the glasses for me. In addition to creating a really nicely finished product, Pat did it within my tight schedule and the gifts were a hit. They simply wouldn’t have happened without her.

I had six groomsmen, properly represented by the label.

As far as actually brewing the beer went, it involved a lot of firsts. It was our first lager, it was Dave’s first experience with homebrewing, and it was the first brew session at my parent’s house. Also, this batch employed some new equipment, including a 185,000 BTU propane regulator and burner for brewing, and a mini-fridge equipped with a temperature controller for fermentation. The burner necessitated that we brew outdoors, on a cold December night, at my parents house. Since it produced lots of fire, heat, and carbon monoxide, we obviously couldn’t operate it in the apartment. Furthermore, I didn’t feel like lugging brewing equipment to and from the courtyard. However, brewing away from home would present its own challenges, like forgetting to bring the yeast. While brewing, I turned up the burner too much, leading to a boil-over and then a small fire. Apparently, the foam from the wort caramelized as it spilled down the side of the pot and then ignited upon contact with the flame. After dealing with that and adjusting the burner to a lower setting, I thought all was well. We still had a really strong boil going, which undoubtedly helped make the beer really clear in the end, but we also lost a lot of water, reducing yield and increasing the concentrations of hops and malt. I wish I could blame the small amount of beer, 3.75 gallons, on the insanely powerful burner, but truthfully, I easily replenished the lost wort volume with water during fermentation, achieving the intended concentrations of malt and hops. Therefore, the low volume really has to do with poor efficiency in the mashing process. Perhaps the small quantity increases novelty of the whole thing. At least it tastes good!

And it’s not just me saying that. Even Samuel Adams agrees. On a whim, I submitted four twelve ounce bottles of Groom’s Reserve to the Samuel Adams Longshot Homebrew Contest where it earned second place in the Oktoberfest category. I will point out that the brewer who took first in that category became a finalist with another one of his entries. In other words, I was beaten only by a skilled brewer, as opposed to some schmo. As a prize, Samuel Adams sent me a hat. I may only wear it when I get drunk, but I wear the glory 24/7.  Have a look at the judges’ report cards:

Before I close, I’d like to share a link to some of the wedding photos taken by our guests. When I get a hold of the digital copies from our official photographer, I’ll share them there.

Comrade Eddie!

Posted in adventure, Photo with tags , , on 2008 June 7 by KLP


During my walk around downtown Moscow today, I discovered this billboard. In tribute to this awesomeness, I present lyrics of Iron Maiden’s Run to the Hills in Russian:

Белый человек пришел через море
Он принес нам боль и страдания
Он убил наших племен, он убил нашего вероисповедания
Он принял нашу игру за свою необходимость

Мы боролись ему трудно мы боролись ему всего хорошего
Ушли на равнинах мы дали ему ад
Но многие пришли слишком много для криийский
Ах, мы сможем когда-либо быть бесплатными?

Верховая езда через dustclouds и бесплодной отходов
Галопирующей над равнинами
Чеканки redskins обратно в свои дыры
Борьба с ними на их собственной игре
Убийство за свободу ножом в спину
Женщины и дети, и трусы нападение

Пробег на холмах баллотироваться в вашей жизни
Пробег на холмах баллотироваться в вашей жизни

Солдат-синего цвета на пустоши отходов
Охота и убивать их игры
Насилуя женщин и мужчин, теряя
Только хорошие индейцы являются приручить
Продажа них виски и занять свое золото
Рабство молодых и уничтожая старые

Пробег на холмах баллотироваться в вашей жизни
(повторять до конца)

I wanted to translate this translation back into English, but there are hardly any errors, except that “Пробег на холмах баллотироваться в вашей жизни” translates back into “Mileage on the hills run for your life”.

I have a bunch more photos that should eventually be geotagged. I’ll try to get them ready and share them too.

From Russia with Love

Posted in adventure, opinion, Photo with tags , , , on 2008 May 5 by KLP

Finally, here are my photos from Moscow:

I think some of them are pretty cool. I took these photos on my first trip into downtown Moscow. Unfortunately, the lighting wasn’t good. Luckily my Nikon Coolpix 8800VR held up relatively well. The rain sucked, but it did make the Red Square look all shiny. The mist made Saint Basil’s Cathedral look really spectacular. Buildings like this one freak me out with their age and beauty. They’re all over Moscow, too. I can’t really rationalize a vacation to Moscow, but I can’t rationalize passing up an opportunity to visit either. Somehow, despite the traffic and pollution, Moscow makes me feel good about humanity. Too bad pictures can never really convey this sentiment.

In Soviet Russia the Toilet Flushes You!

Posted in adventure, opinion, Photo with tags , , , , , , , , on 2008 March 28 by KLP

I feel as though I’ve taken on too much responsibility this week. I bought renter’s insurance, Alstom is shipping me off to Moscow, CCCP for the week of April 13, I made a claim using said renter’s insurance, and bought a nice suit at Macy’s.

The events concerning the insurance and the toilet reference in the title of this post boggle my mind. I signed for a policy Sunday evening, which I did not previously have, and this morning the toilet backed up, flooded the bathroom, and leaked into the unit downstairs. For serious. Having the foresight to get the policy is just as much an act of God as my crapper rejecting its breakfast. Consider also, that the affected neighbor downstairs enjoys listening to Christian rock in the early morning and late evening, praying out loud, and crying while he does so. He also talks very loudly on the phone for hours about how much he loves God and how his passion makes him a better person than folks like me, who aren’t Jesus freaks. Act of God, indeed.

I am excited about going to Moscow. This adventure will include a lot of firsts for me:

  • I’ve never visited a non-English speaking or non-Spanish speaking country.
  • I’ve never flown for more than about four hours.
  • I’ve never been so far from home.

To clarify that last statement, I’ve never traveled farther north than Toronto, farther south than Belize, farther east than Puerto Rico, or farther west than Las Vegas. That said, I can only imagine visiting Moscow for work related reasons because it really isn’t relevant to me. I certainly respect and appreciate the city’s history, but it’s a history to which I don’t belong. Furthermore, Moscow seems closer to nowhere than I’d travel to for the sake of traveling. I’m also nervous about the trip because it seems like the folks at Alstom’s Russian branch are counting on my expertise on piping analysis. I’m told that I am supposed to answer their questions. I wonder if they have any idea what they are in for.

I hope to take plenty of photos with my new Holga in Moscow. In fact, I hope to take one of a Volga. I will consider the trip wasted if I do not achieve this goal.

Steve Jobs Chums His Bathtub with Whale Meat to Feed His Ego: Part 3

Posted in Photo, projects with tags , , , , , , , , on 2008 March 19 by KLP

Continued from Steve Jobs Chums His Bathtup with Whale Meat to Feed His Ego: Part 2.

On Monday, Kat’s computer stopped working again. I never really expected my fix to be permanent, but it did last a good while. I will probably be able to get the computer running again, for my own purposes, but Kat needs a reliable system to do her work on. So, last night we went to the UConn Co-op to get her a new 15.4″ MacBook Pro.

Anyway, Kat wanted CCP4 installed on her new system. Unfortunately, it was pain in the ass. I’m pretty sure that most of the problem has to do with the software, but we were unaware that the system didn’t come with Leopard already installed. This meant that it was a while before we realized that X11 wasn’t already installed. However, after upgrading to Leopard and confirming that X11 was now installed, nothing about the CCP4 installation changed for the better.

I believe that the problem is that the CCP4 binary sucks. So we decided to use fink to install the program according to the instructions on this wiki and CCP4 works now! I can’t remember if I followed the instructions for installing fink exactly but I think it was a matter of installing Xcode3, downloading the source for fink, which automatically decompressed, and compiled it by first navigating to its folder in the terminal and typing:

./bootstrap.sh

Then I followed the rest of the previously mentioned instructions. They are pretty clear except for telling you how to start CCP4. The instructions for doing so are here. I don’t expect that anyone looking for clarification about getting CCP4 running will ever look to this post for help, so I intend to update the wiki a little bit. Hopefully we’ll also have success in installing Coot.

I am going to drop the Steve Jobs Chums His… title after this post. I’m afraid that Treehouses might slip into the dark abyss of Apple hating, which isn’t my style. While I am usually impressed by their products and culture, I am only sometimes perplexed and offended. Such is the case with Kat’s new ‘puter. The case is really nice to look at, the screen is great, and Leopard seems to be nice to work with. However, we’ve noticed some really troubling behavior. For example, when switching between text fields in different windows, such as from Terminal to TextEdit, it takes a few seconds before keystrokes start registering. It’s not as though I start typing and then several seconds later everything I typed appears. Rather, there is some sort of waiting period before keyboard input is allowed. Kat hasn’t experienced it at work when the computer runs off of the wall outlet, but we definitely noticed it on the second evening of battery power, but not the first. Anyone with information on what is going on and how to fix it should let me know. This problem is really frustrating.

In other news, my Holga came in from China yesterday. I can’t wait to start taking photos!

Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.

@dmytri

Venture Communist. Miscommunications Technologist. Telekommunisten Polemicist. ThoughtWorks Analyst.