Attack of the CommentSpam
Saturday, Aug 14, 2004
So last night I was the victim of a storm of commentspam beyond that which I can take care of by hand. For the next few days, comments will sadly be down entirely until I finish my new commenting system which will prevent this kind of thing.

Second on the list of to-dos will be to import old comments into the new system. Sorry for forcing y'all to run silent for a few days!

How quickly we forget the old technology
Friday, Aug 13, 2004
Shopping for a home fax machine, I just realized that I forgot that fax machines used to all use rolls of thermal paper, until now I see that none do.

I guess I can throw out that box of thermal paper rolls I have in the garage...

Zero Footprint
Wednesday, Aug 11, 2004
It startles me in an unsettling way when I met someone without a Google footprint; that is to say, a Gogle search on their name doesn't match them at all, and only brings up a few geneology sites listing someone born in 1773 who might be their great^n grandparent.

To be fair, I'm not sure whether I'm unsettled because the person hasn't left their name anywhere that Google looks, or that I'm startled by the void.

Argh, innovation and AIM
Wednesday, Aug 11, 2004
Is anyone else annoyed (or did anyone else even notice) that AOL's instant messenger completely changed their model for handling multiple computers? Used to be that if you left yourself signed in somewhere and you logged in on a different machine, it would kick you off the first machine, and log you in where you actually are. Now it leaves both sessions open, giving you an annoying 'system message' telling you you're logged in in multiple locations, and doesn't let you log out remotely, so if you left yourself logged in at work Friday evening, the only way to make sure you don't miss an important IM is to stay logged in at home as well, with an away message saying you're not actually online.

As far as I can tell, there's no way to go back to the old model, and if you accidentally leave yourself logged in someplace like a net cafe or a school computer, you have to gain physical access to the machine to prevent them from staying logged in and reading every message sent to your handle. This is a strong departure from the conventional wisdom that logins should favor shyness over stickiness by default, and I hate it.

Truth is scarier than sci-fi
Sunday, Aug 08, 2004
Prozac detected in Scotland's water supplies.

And we were worried about anthrax and smallpox...

Blog by Proxy
Thursday, Aug 05, 2004
Hey folks, in the last several weeks I've been too busy/preoccupied/stressed to blog. Rachel, while no less stressed (in fact, quite probably moreso than I), has been doing a great job of keeping people up to date on her and our lives. A few days ago a very close friend of hers, Rex, was in a car accident, and Rachel's latest post gives a nice background to many of the recent events in both our lives.
Vegas is another world
Tuesday, Aug 03, 2004
Rachel and I spent the weekend in Las Vegas with her parents and had a blast. Amazingly, this was my fourth trip to Lost Wages in the last calendar year and amazingly I didn't lose my wages. I actually turned a profit!

Las Vegas is truly a different world from the Bay Area. Was it the flashing lights? Nope. The casinos? Un-uh. It was the Kerry commercials on TV every 10 mintues. Hello, swing state! I don't think I've seen a single presidential commercial outside of a news show airing it to comment on it since the primaries ended.

I get riled up enough by the election already. I can't imagine what it would be like with a constant barrage of ads for the next three months.

May as well call it a Bleu Moon
Friday, Jul 30, 2004
I love it when news sites publish scientific articles. They try to get people excited about the ephemeral or intangible, and they usually do a pretty good job. Then there's the exception to the rule. Today's CNN story about tomorrow's blue moon is one of the worst-written articles I've ever seen on CNN, barring when they accidentally insert the same paragraph twice in a row.

First, there's an image of a reddish moon with a caption explaining how soot from recent volcanos or fires can make the moon appear blue. Then the first paragraph talks about how tomorrow will be a 'blue moon' because it's the second full moon in a month. Next they explain how a 'blue moon' has nothing to do with a color change, but is purely a coincidental conjunction of the moon's orbit with the Gregorian calendar, and it happens every 32 months or so, except last year, when it happened twice in three months, thanks to a February without any full moon.

Then we go in to a long first-person (?!) discussion of where the term 'blue moon' came from, culminating by a reminiscence of that time that the author put forth a theory that it was a derivation of 'belewe' from Old English, which means 'to betray.' Allusions to Billy Crystal's rendition of Miracle Max in the Princess Bride ("He clearly said 'to blathe' which, as we all know means 'to bluff'!"), the author proposes that the 'belewe moon' is so named because it 'betrays the usual perception of one full moon per month.'

Then follow another few paragraphs explaining how the author's offhand hypothesis later proved to be false, and that the original term came from the Farmers Almanac in the 1920s, to refer to the one extra full moon in a season, and then was bastardized in the 1940s by a writer at rival publication Sky & Telescope (the author writes for

In closing, the author brings the subject back to this blue moon, or more exactly, to the first full moon of the month, four weeks past, and how it occurs when the moon coincidentally is at perogee with the Earth, making tides higher than usual, and warning, all in the present tense, that if there are any cosatal storms on the 4th of July weekend, it could mean big flooding in those areas. This is because the story originally appeared on on July 2nd, and someone decided to push it up to the CNN home page today, after changing a few words in the first paragraph while ignoring the context of the latter part of the article.

Don't mind me. I'm just having a bitter day and am taking it out on one less-than-perfect story...

Nym needs a home!
Tuesday, Jul 27, 2004
Rachel's cat Nym needs a home. Can you help?

Nym really is the sweetest cat. She's always one for belly-skritches and will be the first one to find your hand and rub her head into it. She's so good natured and adorable -- but also needy, and therein lies the problem: When she's left alone too much she'll make her stress known by peeing on a bed.

Now we're at a crossroads. She's a wonderful cat and a wonderful being who never shows a temper, but now we desperately need to find a place for her. A trip to the shelter would almost certainly lead to her being put to sleep for reasons she couldn't begin to understand, and neither Ammy and Rick, nor Rachel and I have a place where Nym could live as an outside kitty.

What Nym needs is a place with someone who's home most of the time and can give the love that Nym would return tenfold, or a place with someone who could keep her as an outdoor kitty, feed her and give her some love.

Nym truly is an adorable cat, and we're both stricken by having to decide her fate.

Please: Can you help, or do you know someone who can? If so, please email us at Nym at phoenixfeather dot net. We have to find a solution quickly, so if there's any possibility you know someone who can help, please let us know as soon as possible.

Nym with Hummy
Nym with Hummingbird

Househunting: Stage 1
Tuesday, Jul 27, 2004
Clearly after four or five trips to Los Angeles in the last month (I've lost count), I'm now at a loss for stuff to do in all my free time outside work, and so Rachel and I have started househunting.

Starting nearly three weeks ago when we saw a friend of a friend's offering on a whim, I've now toured the inside of no less than 26 houses in Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Fremont and Union City. It's been an incredible learning experience, and it's hard to see a place you love and realize that when you've only seen 3 places you don't yet know the shape of the bell-curve, much less how special this particular house is compared to everything that's out there.

Now that we've seen a larger number, I'm getting more confident in my ability to assess how remarkable a given property is, and we've seen some really great places and a handful of houses you couldn't pay me to live in.

Back when Blacksheep was buying a house, I told her my strategy for apartment hunting (gleaned after 7 moves in 4 years), which is to give yourself at least 4-6 months during which you have no pressure to move, but could at any time, and look at at least a few places a week, until you find the place that you can't live without. Now, as I agonized about submitting an offer on a beautiful house with a huge master bedroom and a wine cellar but no true family room and a lackluster kitchen, she reminded me of my advice and helped me do the right thing and pass on it.

So the hunt continues. I'm getting finances in order, budgeting to make sure of my appropriate range, and working on a loan pre-approval. Rachel's seeing some places today with Ammy's realtor and I'll probably be running out for an hour in the afternoon to see the few she thinks are worthwhile.

Already we've discovered some very important things about Bay Area culture and our own wants and needs. I really cherish being only three miles from work, which is actually too bad because thee are some fantastic places in San Jose that Ammy would love to see us in. After a year in Mountain View, we value the culture of Castro Street and University Avenue, and I'm loath to give those up to live in an ivory tower, or at least a new village. For the same reason, we've learned that Union City isn't the place for us, where the offered homes are uniformly 3-10 years old and laid out more like tents at a crowded campsite, and where a 'community center' is that place with the exercise room and a pool, instead of the street with funky cafes and tapas bars.

So this is a time of stress, but the exhilirating kind. Uncertanty mixed with self-determinism is a heady brew, and I have to be ready to move quickly when the right place comes along, while still climbing high enough on the real-estate learning curve to know I'm making a sound decision.

It's funny how often I find my Game Design professor's words valuable. "Cool ideas are a dime a dozen, but good ideas are worth at least $50 each." In the last few weeks Rachel and I have seen at least three houses that would be 'cool ideas' but the more we look the more I feel like we haven't yet hit upon a property that, for us, would be a 'good idea'.

And so the search goes on!


Hi, I'm Kevin Fox.
I've been blogging at since 1998.
I can be reached at .

I also have a resume.


I'm co-founder in
a fantastic startup fulfilling the promise of the Internet of Things.

The Imp is a computer and wi-fi connection smaller and cheaper than a memory card.

Find out more.

We're also hiring.


I post most frequently on Twitter as @kfury and on Google Plus.


I've led design at Mozilla Labs, designed Gmail 1.0, Google Reader 2.0, FriendFeed, and a few special projects at Facebook.

©2012 Kevin Fox