Strange Computations

There is so much I don’t understand about computers. For example, why does it appear that there was a HUGE spike in traffic to at 1pm today? Why does it look like a russian website is linking to the “site map” button on said website? And why are there strange messages about sinking ships in my log files?
After staring at the monitor for a couple hours (in addition to staring at another monitor all day at work), I think I’ve learned a couple things, but certainly not enough to justify the fatigue that now plagues my eyes and mind.

Am I a Bostonian?

I came to the realization today that I have lived in Boston longer than I lived in San Francisco. So does this mean I have to stop telling people I’m from San Francisco?
The thought came as I was pondering how well I knew this city (Boston that is). I was reading a list of the 64 things “we” (Bostonians) like about Boston. I think I agree most of them are pretty good things to like. I made it down to Mattapan today for the first time ever today – and I saw the edge of Franklin Park. It’s always interesting to see more of one’s city – the parts you really have no business visiting. (Except that I did have some business down there – or at least I went along as a witness to some other people’s business.)

Job Search Begins

I can’t believe it’s only Tuesday. This week is going to take an eternity.
The deadline for city-specific off-campus job interviews has passed, which means the first “applications” are officially out there now. Wish me luck on getting some jobs! (er, some interviews and then *a* job). There are way too many employers and they all want way too much. It’s ridiculous to be applying for jobs for next summer before this summer is over, more than a year in advance.

The Tipping Point

The Tipping Point was an interesting read, but I do think Malcom Gladwell made pretty extreme generalizations. I had learned a lot of the background theory in my communication classes at UCSB (whoa – I actually learned something in my communication classes at UCSB!), but the anecdotal examples were foreign knowledge. Some of the endnotes point to actual academic sources of the information, which puts this book a few steps ahead of the last one I read, Affluenza. I’d say this one is worth reading for the stories, but I object to some general revelations like, “Smoking is not cool, Smokers are cool.” This is similar to the AMWAY salesman telling me that successful people don’t “find time”, they “make time”, or the classic “guns don’t kill people, people do”. People with guns.

Travel Sites Suck

It’s been a weekend of spending money. I bought a rug and coffee table (finally), an airline ticket to San Francisco, and I’m about to rent a car for this weekend’s Newport Folk Festival. And I don’t even have enough in my account to cover this month’s rent. D-oh!
I have to complain for a minute about the travel websites online. In a way they’ve made our lives easier by giving us the ability to do our own price research. Yet they’ve burdened us with slow searches and slow search results. Travelocity is the only one of the majors that actually lets you find the best price and then pick a day. You get a little calendar will all the days offering that fare. As you click though, the days you want suddenly become “unavailable”. I don’t know if they do this to make you think that tickets are going fast and you need to hurry up or if it’s just a flaw in the system, but it’s extremely frustrating. Furthermore, the price you start out with is never the price you get by the time they actually want your credit card information. This means you have to repeat several steps to actually compare deals.
Rental cars are much much worse. You have to pick the type of car and location before ever seeing a price. It might be worth it to me to go to the airport to get the car if it would be cheaper, but I’ll never know the price difference unless I go through the entire reservation process again, staring at the screen while each page loads.
There has got to be a better way to do this. Online travel reservations is one of the few lucrative industries on the internet. These companies make plenty of money. They’ve become giants in a few short years. All of their technology can be centralized. They aren’t trying to coordinate with various resellers or franchisers, so they can have one technology team to develop the interface. Why then, can’t they do a better job?

#1 in Google

“Twenty-somethings are going to search engines to check out people they meet at parties.” Quite so. Today’s New York Time’s Article on researching people via the search engines has some interesting stories to tell about the negative aspects of being able to find people online. I’ve never been too concerned about my “online-privacy”. Just don’t steal my credit card number or give me any computer viruses and I’ll be happy. In fact, I’m proud to come up #1 on Google on a search for Andrew Sinclair. I can see where this page differs from the examples in the article though. I write this page myself and control 100% of its content. Now if someone else wrote something about me on the web, I might be concerned about the accuracy of their representation, but I doubt I would mind an accurate mention of my name. Unlike some people, I have nothing to hide.
Now if only I could get all those other (much uglier) Andrew Sinclairs to stop using my name.
DSL up again.

Journal Decision / New York / DSL

Another update from work… DSL is still down. I called them yesterday and they let me know that, despite everything working fine for six months, I apparently might not have everything hooked up correctly. “Your DSL modem should have its own phone jack. You shouldn’t be sharing the jack with a phone.” Anyway, the saga continues.
In other news, I’ve been selected to be a member of the Boston University School of Law Journal of Science and Technology Law for next year. This was my first choice (after Law Review of course) and I’m really happy to be a member. Apparently a few of my friends are also on the journal, so it should be fun.
Thanks to Sebastien for hosting me in New York last weekend. It was really good to get out of Boston. I’ve been to New York twice now, and this time I visited Brooklyn for the first time – very cool. I’m impressed with how well New York works. The roads work, the subway works, the people work, etc. Everything seems so smooth. Crowded and fast paced, but smooth.

DSL Down

Long time – no update. I went New York for the weekend (’twas nice) and when I returned… no connection! All systems are down at 462 Park Drive. This is not good timing at all. (It’s job hunting season.)
To make things worse, verizon provided us with a little teaser yesterday. Our DSL worked for about an hour in the early evening, just long enough to make me thing everything was cool again. But then…
Hopefully things will be working again soon so I can post some real news.

Small Restaurant Law

The new “Crispy Crepes” restaurant has opened in my neighborhood. We’ve been waiting for a long time. I used to pass the location every day on the way to school, and now we have another quality eating establishment in the hood.
Working at the Legal Services Center has given me a new appreciation for the restaurant business. There are so many legal factors to consider, and then there’s the financing, the cooking, the employees, etc. For example, I did some state tax research today… If you buy a 24 ounce bottle of Coke to go, you don’t have to pay the 5% Massachusetts food tax, but if you buy it “for here”, you do. If you buy a 20 ounce bottle of Coke, you have to pay the tax regardless, unless you’re buying it from the grocery store (but you can’t buy it from a “restaurant part” of a grocery store (where they also sell food for immediate consumption)). Now if you think this is confusing… it’s not. You just give them some money and they give you the Coke. But someone (ie, the owner) has to figure all this stuff out, charge the tax, and pay the tax to the state. How often he or she pays depends upon how much tax there is. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Remember to tip your waitresses and bartenders well tonight – and the owner too.
(Note: Entertainment purposes only people. This is not actual legal advice and I disclaim any responsibility for any inaccuracies. I am not an attorney!)