Apr 13 2004
Another welcome update with a few new features.

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Apr 11 2004
Spring has just started. These buds are the first sign of the new
season.
Trees hiding behind snow.

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Apr 9 2004
Another day at the slopes … and it was FUN! Ski season is almost over,
so I squeezed in day 3 of my first experience pass. The snow is getting pretty
thin in some areas and there are more and more icy spots, but they didn’t bother
me much. After a little warm up on my favorite green trail, it was pretty much
blue all the way.

The afternoon coach helped me ski a bit more
dynamic and with hardly anybody on the trails, we pretty much had the place to
ourselves to slalom along. Too bad my lift pass was limited, as I would have
loved to have gone to the mountain top(s) to reach some of the longer blue
trails and at least one black diamond trail. It’ll be for next year ;)

Smiling big on the slopes

… smiling big :)

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Apr 8 2004
Intego issues Mac OS X Trojan Horse warning

This is not good :( I hope Apple will cut this kind of
development short by taking whichever steps necessary so the OS can’t be
exploited in this way (prevent files from disguising as applications, file
extension & internal code should match one purpose (mp3 cannot delete &
alter other files), all applications require installation & authorization so
nothing can start behind the scenes, …
) and preferably without requiring
users to hook up with Symantec or McAfee to get in the annual fee, daily update,
continuous scanning & filtering needed mill. The last thing Apple users need
is viri, trojans and the like to worry about.

I’m not saying this
IS the case, but when one Anti-Virus company announces the first trojan to
affect a platform, it smells (of what was long thought but since surpassed in
the Windows world because of the vast explosion in viri & trojans) that
somebody might be working to increase their business. I can’t help but
wonder.

Edit: Seems quite a few people agree that it’s not a
virus, but a general vulnerability and that Intego’s wording & actions could
have been better. See also this Wired article.

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Apr 8 2004
No photo unfortunately. This morning, as I walked between the house
& the car, I saw a moose in the neighbor’s back yard. It took me a second to
realize it! It stood there the moment I saw it, then started walking away along
the fence behind their shed/garage. I quietly slipped the camera out, stepped a
little closer while it was behind that garage, fired up the camera, zoomed in
… only my camera was in playback mode (from the last download session) … so
I missed the shot! and the moose moved on of course. I quickly walked around the
block and wandered through the neighboring streets, but it must have been
between buildings again or have crossed the main road.

Note to self:
make sure your camera is in record mode at all times!

It was the
first moose I saw in broad daylight since we arrived here. Interestingly, this
second encounter is also by daylight in town in the capital area. (in 2000 I saw
one run in front of the state house). Out in the country we’ve only spotted a
few late at night along the road.

Runaround. ATT (I know) has an
extra flat rate plan which hopefully should solve our cellphone roaming issues.
Online it reads dial 1-800-REACHOUT to order. Female voice “Thank you for
your interest in ATT unlimited. To learn more or to sign up, log on to
www.att… If you would like to reach out or sign up, please hang up and call
1-866-REACHOUT or 866-…
” The first time I didn’t catch the 866 and the
rest of the number went way too fast. Second time around I caught the detail.
Isn’t it nice when online they tell you to call, where they tell you go online
or call another number?

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Apr 6 2004
Chernobyl today, as real as it gets. Elena rode her motorcycle into the
“dead zone” as close as possible to the atomic plant. Painfully true images and
some interesting facts & figures.

A must visit: Elena’s Ghost Town
pages
for a roentgen free dose of nuclear reality.

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Apr 5 2004
Tightens security for a variety of applications & components in both
Panther & Jaguar. Also contains the previous security update.

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Apr 5 2004
After a really snow deprived winter and the official start of spring, we
received another inch of snow last night.

Snow
covered twigs in the river.

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Apr 5 2004


(scenic view near the start of Dream Maker & Escapade)

I
had quite a workout at Sunday River. It didn’t take long to get accustomed to
the skis again. After the first hesitation to go down the lower half of the
green slopes again ~ euh, that looks a bit steep ;) ~ I quickly found my rhythm
again, trying to go a bit quicker, improve on turns, a few speedier stretches
straight downhill, …

I had signed up for a 90 min class (single
pupil again) and after a brief look at how good (bad?) I was we went on skiing.
A few pointers to solve some of the problems I experienced, introduction to
mainly pressure the outward leg, hip balancing, etc … and we went as high as
we could on the green slopes. I love the “Dream Maker”, it’s so nice to have a
long downhill stretch!

We took on one – for me really challenging -
steep spot between two trails, which I learned to control by initiating 2 or
more quick turns which you don’t finish (thus avoiding the speed & control
problem as with slaloming the full width). My execution was stop & go
turning, but it worked & I reached the bottom safe & well. Cool! I was
really excited about the progress in those 90 mins. I can ski quite a bit more
dynamic & fluid without hesitation for a steeper stretch.

With
about an hour left I went back up, looked at the blue trail called “escapade”
… and went for it. It was a bit more challenging of course, but went like a
breeze. My legs were feeling quite tired, but I gave escapade another go before
I called it a day. I would’ve loved to make another run, but my upper legs were
too exhausted. Better safe than sorry!

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Apr 1 2004
Our federal taxes are pretty straightforward. Fill out the numbers and
break about even or get a little return.

State taxes are new to us,
but shouldn’t be too bad, should it? Quick referencing we already paid nearly a
1/3rd over what’s listed in the state income tax table. Not a bad prospect, I
thought …

Start with the federal income, minus reduced adjustments
(one of which totally unfair), minus lower state credits & deductions,
calculate a ratio Maine / non- Maine source for out of state credit and when you
bring it all together, you owe even more. Huh? Try again. Ouch!

I
spoke with a state tax office representative. Of course that conversation did
not clear any of the confusion & frustration. It boiled down to: You cannot
look at the state income table (x state income => y state tax). Maine treats
everybody equal so it starts with the federal gross income which determines your
Maine gross income and through the calculated out of state credit ratio you are
not paying taxes on your out of state income … etc.

It sounds
right, but something is amiss. X state income, Y state taxes already paid (of
which Z too much), insert state deduction => you should get something back,
not owe more than what’s already withheld.

The only sensible thing
I can come up with is that – where we break about even federally – state wise
we do not and thus have to pay up. It reminds me of Belgium. Every year I had to
pay up 1 month’s net income in extra taxes (on top of the 50% that was already
withheld to start with) because alone I couldn’t afford a house, lived too close
to work (10 miles) for it to be deductible … and … procreation by yourself
is not exactly feasible.

Joe taxpayer
… I’d rather be
windsurfing! Or skiing! Or snowboarding! ;)

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