27 July 2006

Breaking: train derails near Klamath Falls

A freight train derailed near Klamath Falls, with 38 cars into the water, according to an Amtrak employee. I am not sure if this is a freight train or a passenger train, but according to sources, FEMA is involved and is not allowing rail traffic through for at least 12 hrs.

Amtrak is turning its Coast Starlight train (#11) back at Salem, OR to return to Portland for the night.

Update: the Klamath Falls Herald and News just found out and has more detail. The paper learned about the accident when an Amtrak passenger called them at 9:30pm, hours after the incident!

Here's the article: UP freight derails 38 cars: A 38-car train derailment Thursday evening 15 miles north of Klamath Falls blocked a main line, delaying rail traffic, including Amtrak service, for an undetermined time.

According to Amtrak sources, the line will be closed for 24-48 hours.

Here's more on how the paper learned about the accident: Attempts to reach an Amtrak spokesperson Thursday night were unsuccessful. But an Amtrak passenger used her cell phone to call the Herald and News at 9:45 p.m. reporting that the Coast Starlight 14 passenger train was terminating service. The train was headed north from just outside of Paso Robles, Calif.

I'm on Amtrak #11, and I broke the story. A passenger on Amtrak #14 was the source for the paper. In this connected age, it's the passengers and not the authorities who tell the world what's going on.

(posting from Amtrak Coast Starlight #11 near Salem, OR)

Robert Kaye of MusicBrainz

Robert Kaye of MusicBrainz
Originally uploaded by ptufts.
Robert Kaye of MusicBrainz at OSCON.

Damian Conway reads The Davinci Codebase

Damian Conway presented "The Davinci Codebase," an open source murder mystery / comedy, one night at OSCON, complete with illustrations, audio clips, and really, really bad anagrams.

Han fucila primo!!!

Golf Ruts: it iz an anagram!

"Golf Ruts: eet iz an anagram!"

A subtle skew in the population

A subtle skew in the population
Originally uploaded by ptufts.
This is the "where are you from" map at OSCON. Who would have guessed that half the adult population of Pitcairn was attending?

26 July 2006

Anil goatses OSCON

Anil (that's uh-neel) Dash goatses OSCON. Gnat tallied six goatse references in a single keynote presentation, making this a new record.

25 July 2006

Jim Buckmaster at OSCON

At OSCON, Tim O'Reilly interviews Jim Buckmaster, CEO of Craigslist CEO. Some highlights: Craigslist only charges for job listings in three markets, and for apartment listings in NYC. Why? Not to make money, but to cut down on the spam and so improve the quality of the listings. The suggestion to charge came from the Craigstlist community.

They felt that these categories were out of control, and that a small fee would bring some rationality to the listings. Tim pointed out that Craigslist makes money because they decided to deal with spam. I wonder if that's a first?

Tim asked Jim if they had any open source lessons to share. Jim's main, simple point is to focus on the things that matter to your users, and block out everything else.

On the issue of Craigslist taking money from the traditional news media (Craigslist is killing classified ads, a traditional cash cow for newspapers), John pointed out that newspapers still have profit margins twice as great as the average business, and what's happening is that shareholders expect high and growing margins. So while the papers aren't hurting for money, they are cutting staff to meet these shareholder expectations. It's either that or get taken over by someone who will.

My new fighting technique ...

My new fighting technique ...
Originally uploaded by ptufts.
Capt. Jack Aubrey of Master and Commander has a plan for dealing with the French.

OSCON 2006 sign

OSCON 2006 sign
Originally uploaded by ptufts.
I'm at OSCON in Portland this week. I'll be blogging here about the Executive Briefing and some of the key sessions.

12 July 2006

A typical bike ride at 144.6 mph

A typical bike ride at 144.6 mph
Originally uploaded by ptufts.
My bike computer tells me my maximum bike speed was 144.6 mph.

This is what happens when you put a device that measures the rate of electrical pulses into a pocket full of coins.

07 July 2006

it's a party airplane

The Wall Street Journal: Mr. Schmidt stepped in to resolve that by saying, "Sergey, you can have whatever bed you want in your room; Larry, you
can have whatever kind of bed you want in your bedroom. Let's move on."
Mr. Jennings says Mr. Schmidt at another point told him, "It's a party