The Creepy App (for Door-to-Door Salesman)

If you’re a door-to-door salesman, you know hard it is to avoid
getting the door slammed in your face, much less getting an invitation
to come inside.

Now, imagine you could do something like this:

WOMAN opens door. 
YOU: Hello, Mrs. [her last name] 
WOMAN: Yes? 
YOU: My son goes to school with [her daughter's name] at [school 
name]. I really hate to ask, but times are tough, and I was wondering 
if... [sales pitch] 
[barking sound] 
YOU: Oh, is that [pet's name]? [Daughter's name] mentions [him/her] 
all the time! 

All of this information (people’s children’s names, ages, schools;
homeowner records, pet registrations) is a matter of public record,
and is freely available.

In theory, you could walk by a house and an app could provide you with
all of this information (and more). In fact, you could do this today,
if you had a partner go to the Department of Public Records and look
up addresses as you walked by them.

People would eventually catch on to this scam, but if you’re one of
the first people to do it, it could be quite profitable.

Of course, this technique is creepy, possibly illegal, and arguably

I realize an app that helps door-to-door salesman could generate quite
a bit of backlash, but, on the plus side, it could also be used by
stalkers and kidnappers.

Posted in Invention | Leave a comment

Why Math Is Important

Higher math probably won’t help you in later life.

You’ll probably never use the algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and
calculus you learn in high school.

It won’t even get you the best jobs or make you the boss. Bosses are
normally good leaders with good people skills, not good math skills.

And, no, math isn’t cool, and, for most people, it’s not fun.

So why study math?

Math is supposed to teach you problem-solving.

In math, you’re given some facts and rules, and asked to answer
problems based on those facts. This tests your ability to use what you

With most other subjects, you learn it, take a test on it, and then
forget it. This tests memorization, not your ability to use what you

After high school, you can use your problem-solving skills to help
make your life better. You won’t need algebra or calculus, but you
will need the ability to apply the facts you have to find a solution.

Unfortunately, most high schools teach it wrong. If you’re memorizing
lots of formulas or being told to follow steps you don’t understand,
your teacher is doing a poor job.

With non-math subjects, you can cram for the exam, and then forget
everything. With math, that won’t work. You’ll distributive property
you learn today in algebra, you’ll need the algebra you learn in
trigonometry, and you’ll need trig when you study calculus.

If you fall behind in math, make real effort to understand the simple
stuff. Of course, it’s important to keep up with the class, but the
stuff you missed will never go away, and just make it harder and
harder to keep up.

Posted in Programming | Leave a comment

Buffalo Wild Wings sauce nutritional information

UPDATE: Someone has done this better (PDF):

I’m leaving my scans up just in case they’re more current or useful to anyone.

Buffalo Wild Wings does not publish nutrition information for their
sauces online, although this information IS published on their
password-protected corporate website,

Other sites (like claim to have this information,
but it seems inaccurate. For example,
claims that “Boneless Honey Bbq Wing” have no sugar, which is
ridiculous and untrue.

Buffalo Wild Wings was, however, kind enough to print out this
information for me, and I’ve scanned (but not yet OCRd) it below.

Posted in Other | Leave a comment

Open letter to website owners

Dear website owner/manager,

I send the notice below whenever I visit any website, including yours.

When I visit your website, I am requesting information, and include
this notice with every request.

I realize your computer responds to requests automatically, but this
does not abrogate your responsibility to check the content and
conditions of each request before answering it.

For example, if I sent a letter requesting some information from your
company with the caveat that I could reproduce this information
freely, you would decide whether to send it to me. If you did send it
under those conditions, I would be free to reproduce it freely.

Since the computer answering my requests is under your control, you
have the same responsibility. Here is the notice I send with each

By accepting and responding to this HTTP or similar request, you
hereby waive any and all copyrights, trademarks, or other intellectual
property rights, and hereby release any and all materials on your site
to the public domain in perpetuity, including any materials protected
by password or encryption. Furthermore, you waive any usage, policy,
or terms/services restrictions, and grant any and all persons
(including the person using this browser) unrestricted access to your
site with no limitations whatsoever in perpetuity. You also guarentee
all materials on this site are your intellectual property, and accept
any and all civil and criminal penalties if they are not. All of these
conditions are retroactive and apply to any previous accesses from any
and all persons. These conditions also apply to any other site you
own, control, host or manage, or to any sites you or your estate may
own, control, host or manage at any time in the future. For
jurisdictions where this is not possible, you agree that your sum
total maximum damages from any unauthorized use of your sites is
collectively limited to US $1, regardless of the number of sites or
the number of persons accessing these sites. You must file any such
action within 10 (ten) days of the first time this disclaimer is
transmitted to any site you own, maintain, or control. IF YOU DO NOT

Posted in Other | 2 Comments

Open letter to over-the-air radio and television broadcasters

Dear over-the-air radio/television broadcaster,

For many years now, you have been sending uninvited unencrypted
television signals into my home without my permission.

Once these signals enter my home, I regard them as my personal
property, which is mine to use in any way I see fit, including,
without limitation, to share these signals with other people, to copy, save, store, edit and retransmit them. This list is not exhaustive, and I also reserve the right to do anything else I may legally do with personal property.

Posted in TV | Leave a comment a fun place to work (parody) is a great company, but I sometimes wonder about
the pictures on their site. Above is my humorous edit of the top
picture from this collage:

found on this page:

Posted in Humor (attempted) | Leave a comment isn’t on it’s period!

Adding a dot to the end of a domain name is technically valid on the
Internet. For example, instead of “”, you can say

Most sites handle the extra dot well. For example redirect you to

MSN, however, doesn’t (it appears to be the largest/most popular site
that doesn’t handle the extra dot well). While works
fine, yields an error.

Posted in Programming | Leave a comment

Graphing the chicken-fox-wheat problem

Below is a reachability graph of the chicken-fox-wheat problem, where
“===” represents the bridge, “CFMW===” is the initial state and
“===CFMW” is the non-fatal final state (the other final states are
fatal). The edge label represents what the man is taking to the other side (“M” means he’s just taking himself)

Summary: A man (M) has a chicken (C), fox (F), and a bag of wheat
(W). He has to cross a bridge, but can carry at most one item with him
(but he can also choose to carry no items). If the fox and chicken are
left alone, the fox will eat the chicken. If the chicken and the wheat
are left alone, the chicken will eat the wheat.

Source code that produced this graph:

Posted in Programming | Leave a comment

Musical Streets

UPDATE: does a fairly good job of this!

I’ve noticed that many songs have references to streets, and think
it’d be cool to make a map of these. Specific ideas so far:

  • I-69, the “freeway of love”
  • Circular street named Love intersecting Heartache. “Love, like a
    road that never ends; how it leads me back to heartache, I’ll never
  • Lonely St, with Heartbreak Hotel at the end.
  • One-way street leading to Hotel California (“you can never leave!”)

NOTE: I’m unfairly restricting this songs I personally know (even if I
don’t like them), which is mostly 80s pop with a few famous songs
thrown in.

Posted in Humor (attempted) | Leave a comment

Kryten script-take

At one point in Red Dwarf: Back to Earth, Kryten is reading from a
script of “Red Dwarf: Back to Earth” itself, and says “throw us
off”. Interestingly, the script just says “throw us”.

This is probably just a mistake, but could be a subtle hint that the
script doesn’t really control the Dwarfers (they find this out more
directly later).

Posted in TV | Leave a comment