Al…most… there…

The phone company managed to put in one pole today (Horray!), but they still need to replace the one across the street that will connect to it.

But some progress has been made, at least.

Carpeting/Linoleum should be arriving this week. Finishing up the wood flooring is blocked on getting power. (Apparently the extension cord to my parents’ house isn’t enough for powering their big sanding machines, or something.)

A Magic Weekend

On Saturday, we went to the North American Challenge finals at Milford, which Jessi had qualified for on Wednesday. Luckily, they took me on as a judge that day so I had something to do there. Jessi didn’t fare so well, unfortunately. They had brought in Sheldon Menery, a level 5 (“Professional level”) judge from the Maryland/Virginia area, as the Head Judge. We were ridiculously overstaffed, as there were 8 of us for a 90 player tournament, but that helped everything go relatively smoothly.

While there, I learned that Shelden was holding a judging seminar on Sunday for a few hours. I went there and it was very informative and helpful. Also, he gave out a very nice rare (and valuable) judge promo Balance to each of the attending judges, which was a very kind gesture on Wizards’s part.

Also at the event, one of the other judges recognized my name from my activity on It’s kinda cool to be recognized.

Random Rambling: Usenet

I recently got to thinking that many of the deficiencies in blogs, or at least LJ’s implementation of them, could be solved using Usenet. News readers understand only showing unread things, and people could just reply to posts to comment on them, and then I’d see the replies. I’d kind of like each person to have their own personal newsgroup. Plus, people would be able to start discussions on other people’s groups, which might make some sense in some circumstances. I’m not sure how well it’d fit into the current implementation of Usenet, so it might need to be its own hierarchy on a private server or something. And maybe there could be an RSS/News gateway to read other blogs and for others to read it who aren’t Usenet-savvy. But it somehow Usenet feels like the right tool for the job. Or at least, better than this mismatch of incompatible blogging systems that don’t support the user’s experience. I could just subscribe to what I want, and then read it with the rest of my news.

It’s kind of unfortunate that Usenet is this lost part of the Internet, unknown to many people. Most people only interact with it via web-based gateways (the most famous of which is Google Groups, but others exist). But news readers are really the right tool for the job. I want all of my incoming messages to come in that way. (And since I use Gnus for both mail and news, that’s exactly what I get.)

Egosurfing Meme

I normally don’t do these, but this was too interesting to pass up. I think the intent was to just use a first name, but this works just as well for my whole name, since it’s common enough.

So, interesting snippets from the top 10 Google Search results for “Peter Cooper is”:

  • Peter Cooper is a venerated figure in the cultural history of New York. Among his many achievements is the invention of Jell-O®.
  • That letter, which embodies so fervently the warmth, the humanity, and the high ideals of Peter Cooper, is here presented, 97 years later
  • “Hiring Peter Cooper is a response to that challenge and continues our policy of building our team from the very best people the industry has to offer. …
  • Mel Bay’s Complete Irish Fiddle Player by Peter Cooper is a treat!
  • Peter Cooper is a freelance journalist, and is also an eBoz!
  • Peter Cooper is currently the Chairman of the Department of Music and teaches piano at Andrews University.
  • PETER COOPER is a researcher with Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch; he previously worked for the Laogai Research Foundation.

(You can actually find me on the Internet on Microsoft’s site and on Wizards of the Coast’s site, if you Google right. I’m also on some random other pages at WPI and elsewhere. Searching for “Peter Cooper Jr.” does a better job of finding me, since there are fewer people with that name.)

The future of consumer electronics, with desired toy

So, it seems like things are moving toward everything being networked. My phone service is already over the Internet, and consumer TV-over-IP can’t be too far away. That’s one of the reasons that I’m so happy that my house is so wired, while at the same time wondering if it’ll still meet my needs 20 years from now. (I figure that worst case is that I’ll need a switch in every room.)

So, there’s a device that I want now along these lines: I want a clock (such as for the living room) that plugs into the network to get its time via NTP. It can’t be too hard. I’ve done some searching, but all I’ve found are mainly for businesses, and the lowest cost I could find was for about $200. Most places just were asking for contact information so they could give you a quote. That price is way too high for a clock. I could buy a brand new computer with a monitor from Dell for $300 and use that as a clock if I wanted to go that route.

Any suggestions?