Monday, August 17, 2009

Full text of H.R. 3200 Energy/Commerce health care reform bill

Just in case you cannot access the "official" text of the H.R. 3200 House Energy and Commerce Committee health care reform bill at the Library of Congress Thomas web site, you can find it here:

The official name of the bill ("Act") is "America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009."

-- Jack Krupansky

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Twitter status - Twitter still back, at least at the moment

Twitter seems to still be back, at least at this moment.

BTW, here is my personal tweetstream for JackKrupansky.

Twitter's status blog (at still says:

Update: the site is back up, but we are continuing to defend and recover from this attack.

Anyway, as I said in my previous posts... time for my usual midday walk up to Central Park. Really!

-- Jack Krupansky

Twitter status - Twitter is back... oops now it's not

Twitter is still down... sort of... mostly.

I hit refresh a minute ago and Twitter came up just fine!

I tried to tweet but something happened.

Another refresh and... nothing.

Twitter's status blog (at still says:

Update: the site is back up, but we are continuing to defend and recover from this attack.

Anyway... time for my usual midday walk up to Central Park.

-- Jack Krupansky

Twitter status - still down but making progress

I am still unable to access Twitter and Twitter's status blog (at still says:

Update: the site is back up, but we are continuing to defend and recover from this attack.

But at least is now saying "No" in black letters in the middle of the page.

That's a tiny bit of progress.

-- Jack Krupansky

Tweet: Unemployment insurance claims modestly improved, an ongoing green shoot

If Twitter was up, here is what I would have Tweeted:

Posted on "Unemployment insurance claims modestly improved, an ongoing green shoot".

-- Jack Krupansky

Twitter status - back but not really

Twitter's status blog (at has an update that says:

Update: the site is back up, but we are continuing to defend and recover from this attack.

But as far as I can tell, Twitter is still down.

-- Jack Krupansky

Twitter status - DOS

Even if Twitter itself is down, you can still check status at

I just checked and this is what I found:

Site is down
1 hour ago

We are determining the cause and will provide an update shortly.

One hour ago? Shortly? Hmmm... this is a major outage. And they still do not know the real cause. Good grief.

Hey, at least Google Blogger is super reliable these days. Interesting... the Twitter guys are the guys who originally developed Blogger. Maybe that is the solution to these outages: Sell out to Google.

Stop the presses... I just hit Refresh one last time and now Twitter Status is saying:

Ongoing denial-of-service attack
3 minutes ago

We are defending against a denial-of-service attack, and will update status again shortly.

Wow, a heavy duty DOS. Could it be the Eye-ranians or the North Koreans?

They also updated the previous notice to include an update:

Update: we are defending against a denial-of-service attack.

-- Jack Krupansky

How I know that Twitter is down

I begin to suspect that Twitter is down when the Update button fails to post a new tweet promptly.

I become more suspicious when browser Refresh/Reload fails to load the Twitter web page.

My suspicion is mostly confirmed when has a notification at the top of the page:

Twitter is currently experiencing some API issues. Posting may be unavailable.

Finally I go to and it says "yes" in red letters in the middle of the page.

Twitter is still down.

How long has it been down? Answer: Too long.

How long is that? Long enough for me to complete three old-fashioned blog posts!

-- Jack Krupansky

New definition of Blogging: What you do when Twitter is down

Coming up with a precise, accurate, flexible and understandable definition of Blogging has been problematic, but I think I now have the answer:

Blogging: What you do when Twitter is down.

-- Jack Krupansky

Why is Twitter down again?

Why on earth is Twitter down again? They have experienced outages before, so shouldn't they have learned from them and fixed the problems that are causing outages? Or is the problem the fact that they are so dependent on Amazon, Google, and other flaky "service" companies? Maybe it is time that they build their own infrastructure. Maybe being in the infamous San Francisco Bay Area is an infrastructure negative rather than a plus. If they want to have offices in the Bay Area, fine, but locate all infrastructure where service providers are more reliable and they have more control. They have plenty of money, so is this a sign of negligent management, or what?

-- Jack Krupansky

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Google Chrome bug: unable to properly display News Corp home page

I continue to use Google Chrome as my main browser, but not as my default browser since there are still too many sites that it cannot display properly. The latest I have ancountered is the News Corp. web site home page, where it displays the News Corp. press releases and business unit news columns way off to the right side and off the screen, rather than in the main news box where they belong.

Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE 8) and Firefox display this page properly.

I am running Google Chrome version Should be the latest.

Overall, I remain reasonably content with Chrome.

-- Jack Krupansky

Monday, August 03, 2009

Air cooler blasts out ice cooled air and uses 96% less electricity than a window air conditioner!

Sometimes I actually like to read email spam because the claims are so hilarious. Today was the first time I had ever gotten a pitch for the "The Cool Surge eco-friendly air cooler":

The Cool Surge(R) eco-friendly air cooler blasts out ice cooled air, but uses about 96% less electricity than a typical window air conditioner. That way, you can stay cool for just pennies a day.

Sounds great! Of course, 96% less electricity seems a bit too good to be true.

So, I cut and pasted the first part of the sentence and googled it and quickly spotted a blog post that points out:

So essentially what the machine does is blow air over an icepack that you freeze in your freezer. This is nothing but an attempt to bilk poor people and people on fixed incomes out of money. They hope to take advantage of the ever rising energy prices to blind people to the laughable nature of any sort of cooling claims. You can buy a cheap window fan (that at least partial vents the heat from the fan) for 30 $$$ at a hardware store  and a freeze pack or 2 at your local grocery store for under 5 $$$. They want 300 $$$ PLUS shipping for their unit. What a joke. If you have ever taken your lunch to work with an ice pack in it, you know how well your cooler has to be insulated to make it work well. Try that in a house.

That's great. They were so careful to say "ice cooled air", expecting (correctly) that most people (including me) would read that as "ice cold air." Of course, no sane person would want to feel 32-degree air anyway.

Here is the description from the Cool Surge web site:

The Cool Surge portable air cooler is a work of engineering genius from the China coast so advanced that no windows, vents or freon are required. It's as easy to use as a baby's vaporizer and even includes two sets of the reusable glacier ice blocks. That gives you a total of eight hours of extra cooling power. It uses the same electricity as a light bulb, yet it blasts out ice cooled air. The hi-efficiency motor cools the air around the unit so you'll instantly feel cool and refreshed. The 3 cooling levels and auto shut off timer put all the comfort controls at your fingertips. It's so impressive that all transactions less shipping are backed by a full year limited warranty and a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

It does sound so "eco-friendly" with its "reusable glacier ice blocks."

Now, be careful to read the fine print... "gives you a total of eight hours of extra cooling power." But what if it is hot more than eight hours? Hmmm... 24 divided by eight is three, meaning you would need three of these units or six sets of those "reusable glacier ice blocks" if you live in a climate where you need A/C 24/7 to survive all day, plus the freezer capacity for all of those "reusable glacier ice blocks."

The FAQ is "useful":


It is a work of engineering genius that blasts out ice cooled air but only uses the same electricity as a 60 watt light bulb on the standard setting.

It's as easy to use as a baby's vaporizer and even includes the extra cooling power of 4 reusable glacier ice blocks. The glacier packs last 4-6 hours and are freezable and reusable.

Gee, that's a very helpful answer!

Here's another very important question and the "useful" answer:


It depends on several factors including the size of the room, the humidity level, the room temperature on any given day, what type of windows, is the sun shining right into the room, how high the ceilings are...

Those are their ellipses. Actually, honestly, they did given the technically correct engineer's answer (and we know their engineer(s) was a "genius"): It all depends. No sane engineer would ever claim otherwise. If they had marketing answer this question they would say "A lot!". And the sales team would helpfully and cheerfully respond "All of it!"

Here's the real catch... At a cost of $356, that is $176 more than I paid for my window air conditioner. $176 will buy me a lot of electricity. And of course they do not alert you to the fact that you have to pay the cost of electricity for your freezer to "reuse" those "reusable glacier ice blocks." Unless... if you live in a place where the winters are very cold and you have an ice house, you could buy and freeze a zillion of those "reusable glacier ice blocks" and not pay a dime for freezing them.

The spam I got offered to sell me the Cool Surge for a $119 discount or $297 discount for two units that are "nearly perfect." The email says:

These units have minor, hard-to-find imperfections that keep us from selling them at regular prices, but they function perfectly saving you a ton compared to A.C. costs.

One other little nit to pick... a of the primary function and value of A/C is to remove humidity so that you feel cooler than if the humidty were higher. The Cool Surge has no such capability, other than the small amount of condensation that might form on the "reusable glacier ice blocks". After all, if it did remove humidity to the extent that a window A/C does you would end up with a large puddle of water on the floor or have to frequently drain a pan to accumulate the water.

-- Jack Krupansky