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“Wait, isn’t that…?”

May 12, 2016, 1:01 PM

Imagine my surprise to sit down at my computer this morning to check Facebook, and be greeted by this image from ABC affiliate WJLA:

DAY 15 OF RAIN: ARK NEARLY COMPLETE

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So I’m at work modernizing websites again…

December 11, 2012, 1:07 AM

So I’m at it again, working to modernize a Schumin Web property.  You may recall (and it’s pretty hard to miss) that Schumin Web proper was converted to WordPress over the course of a year in 2011-2012.  Then College Life was converted to WordPress last month in a process that took about a week and a half to do.  That leaves the Today’s Special site and Transit Center left to be upgraded.

The current project is to convert the Today’s Special site to a content platform of some sort.  However, unlike Schumin Web proper and College Life, this one isn’t going to be where the site is ported to a content platform but looks the same to the user in the end as it did before.  This is going to be a big project for different reasons.  I am finally going to take the Today’s Special site and bring it into the 21st century.  Here’s a little secret for you: I have been unhappy with that site’s design and structure for a little over five years now.  The site last received a major redesign/overhaul in 2005 (while I was out of commission due to some minor surgery), and that mainly improved the writing and the layout, while keeping the general structure the same.  When I converted the site to PHP with the move to Dreamhost in 2007, I had wanted to do a big overhaul on it, but ultimately ended up converting it more or less the same as it was before, owing to time constraints and also my own capabilities at that time.

Now, my long-dreamed-of overhaul is coming.  I have the time, and I now have the technical knowledge and the maturity to bring my vision to reality.  The Today’s Special site is going to become a wiki.  It’s going to move away from fansite and more towards being a knowledge base – the source for all things Today’s Special.  Using Homestar Runner Wiki and Muppet Wiki as inspiration, my plan is to greatly expand the depth and breadth of coverage of the Today’s Special site, and be as extensive as I can get it.  And with the wiki format, this can and should be a collaborative effort.  I want other fans to join in.  I hope that Today’s Special alumni will contribute.  I hope that TVOntario joins in, too.  I think everyone with an interest in the show has something to contribute, even if it’s just correcting a typo, or removing a stray comma.

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More swimming, Jimbo Wales, and a new exercise guide!

June 13, 2011, 11:10 PM

Oh, do I have a lot to discuss today. First of all, I went swimming on Sunday, which was an interesting experience all its own. What made it so interesting was how busy the pool was. First, though, I got there early, while maintenance work was still going on. So I got to do something I’d told Mom I’d do for a while now: take pictures of the pool. And here they are:

The "leisure pool" (read: kiddie pool) area. This pool is three feet deep at its deepest, and water is normally flowing out of the top of the mushroom structure towards the back, and water fills the buckets in the right of the photo. The buckets tip over and dump their contents when they become full. There's also a small water slide that's mostly out of frame, but you can see part of it behind the buckets. One of the two "hydrotherapy pools" (read: hot tub) is visible in the background.
The “leisure pool” (read: kiddie pool) area. This pool is three feet deep at its deepest, and water is normally flowing out of the top of the mushroom structure towards the back, and water fills the buckets in the right of the photo. The buckets tip over and dump their contents when they become full. There’s also a small water slide that’s mostly out of frame, but you can see part of it behind the buckets. One of the two “hydrotherapy pools” (read: hot tub) is visible in the background.

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So why don’t you just tell us what you really think?

January 11, 2011, 10:02 PM

So I drove to work today, and then going home, I put the phone in my GPS mount and did a Video Journal entry from the driver’s seat. And here it is:

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I think I probably know why I blocked this fellow…

April 6, 2010, 11:29 AM

As many of you know, I am an administrator on Wikipedia, and with that comes various extra tools that allow me to roll back vandalism, protect pages, and block disruptive editors. There are occasions when administrative actions get some feedback. Some think I may have been slightly too close to a dispute. Or maybe I protected a page on The Wrong Version. Or maybe I speedily deleted something that wasn’t as clear-cut as I thought. It happens.

It’s the people who get blocked that are amusing. This bit of hate mail recently came across my inbox, from a person named Jim Cooper, from Email address cooper7069@yahoo.com, and with an IP address of 76.123.26.105:

hello, 1st, i would like to say that i really enjoy your website. 2nd i noticed that you went to james masdison university, many of my friends attend JMU currently, and its a beautiful place. 3rd, i like were you state that people should act their age, not their shoe size. i wear a size 15 shoe, so i hope that my age wouldnt show.(haha) 4th, im pretty sure my size 15 shoe with proper force would fit up your ass. (jk) 5th, block me on wikipedia for no reason again and i will make sure that it happens. (lol)

take care.

Sincerly, Jim Cooper

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Categories: Wikipedia

How many public IPs does Augusta County have?

September 18, 2009, 7:05 PM

So I was talking to my mother on the phone this evening, and we discussed my day, and one of the things that came up was the stuff I did on Wikipedia during my lunch break this afternoon. As it turns out, I blocked an anonymous user for two weeks for vandalism, whose IP address, 216.12.45.78, is registered to Augusta County Public Schools, which is the school district where my mother teaches, and where I went to middle school and high school.

So I just kind of threw it out there to Mom: “How many public IPs does Augusta County have?” Mom was kind of taken back by that question, since we had a little language barrier here. What’s an IP? What does IP stand for? Explaining that was a little difficult, since in the few minutes I had to explain it, I had no chance of getting Mom to understand, though if I had a little longer, I might have had a way of figuring it out.

And now I did figure out how to explain it, after the conversation, of course. Basically, imagine you’re in a neighborhood. Each apartment building has a street address. That’s your public IP address. Let’s take “123 Sesame Street”, for example. Say that 123 Sesame Street has the IP address 123.456.789.000. Then each apartment inside 123 Sesame Street has a number. Thus the behind-the-router numbering of 192.168.x.x. Thus Gordon and Susan, in one apartment are 192.168.1.101. Bob is 192.168.1.102. Bert and Ernie are 192.168.1.103. Maria and Luis are 192.168.1.104. They all access the world by walking through the halls of 123 Sesame Street, and then going through the front doors of 123 Sesame Street. The apartment is your inside IP address, the hallways are your router, and then the door is your public IP. Thus Gordon and Susan’s computer, with a local IP address of 192.168.1.101, goes through the router and accesses the Internet via the public IP 123.456.789.000.

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Categories: Internet, Wikipedia

I just realized I never told you about my weekend…

March 9, 2009, 11:38 PM

What fun I had! I got to take a bunch of railfan photos, and I also got to meet the DC area Wikipedia gurus once again.

First, though, I railfanned. I had gotten wind on the Railroad.net forums that Metro would be single-tracking between Vienna and West Falls Church, and with that configuration, that usually means that (A) some trains will be terminating at West Falls Church instead of Vienna, and (B) trains will be utilizing the center track at West Falls Church to cross over to the proper track for single-tracking.

Thus, I rolled on over to West Falls Church, coming down from Glenmont via Metro Center. I caught a train terminating at West Falls Church, and was initially disappointed because the train offloaded at West Falls Church on the correct track. I was disappointed because I figured that they would terminate the short-turn trains on the center track and then dwell there before departing to New Carrollton.

Before we continue, here’s the track layout at West Falls Church:

Track layout at West Falls Church

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Categories: Wikipedia, WMATA

So the meetup went well, though turnout was low.

September 7, 2008, 1:58 AM

I always love getting together with my fellow Wikipedia geeks. We have so much fun, though I admit that the turnout was a bit low this time around. But, I also can’t blame many for not showing, considering that Tropical Storm Hanna came blowing through on the same day. I got pretty wet just walking the ten feet from my door to the car, but otherwise, no problem, since it was a short drive to the Metro station, and then from there, I’m on Metro and it can be as rainy and windy as it wants, because all the stations I’m dealing with (Wheaton and Union Station in this case) are underground.

Otherwise, though, Uno’s was wonderful as always, and the wait staff took very good care of us. One thing we noticed on the check was that they never billed us for the drinks! Much to our surprise, none of the beverages that anyone ordered, alcoholic or otherwise, appeared on the check. Then the conversation was lovely, as we made light of some of the various situations that came up on Wikipedia and all the things we managed to get into. Fun times.

And here we are:

The group that went to the September 2008 DC Wikipedia meetup

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Categories: Target, Wikipedia

And so for those wondering how my birthday went…

June 4, 2008, 2:07 PM

My birthday weekend went quite well, thank you. I spent my actual birthday at home, where I wrote a Wikipedia article about October Rebellion. Yes, that October Rebellion. I had a great time writing that article, though it’s not often that I’ll sit down and write a new article from scratch and go hunting for reliable sources and such.

Then the next day, Mom and Dad came to visit – just for the day. We went to downtown Silver Spring, where we had a birthday lunch at Austin Grill, a restaurant that serves Mexican food. As we were coming in, rain appeared to be imminent, and yet some people still wanted to be seated outside, and stayed outside, even as the rain started coming down. There was a very small overhang that these people ate under, and I presume they stayed dry for the most part.

At the restaurant, Mom committed what would be considered a major sin if you like to stay in the good graces of your companions. She told the server that it was my birthday. Now I admit that she didn’t mean to let that out in front of the waitstaff. It slipped out unintentionally. But you know how it is… if you say “birthday” to a server, next thing you know, you have ALL of them marching in clapping, and singing happy birthday to you. Once we realized Mom’s error, we flagged the server again about the birthday thing, and good news – Austin Grill doesn’t sing. Very good.

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A belated reportback is better than no reportback at all, I suppose.

May 25, 2008, 5:29 PM

Hey, I’ve been busy. So sue me. But I must report back that Katie and I had a great time last weekend. We went all over the place, and had a great time.

However, it started out somewhat rough – Katie took the train up to DC, specifically the Cardinal. And it was late. According to AmtrakDelays.com, on May 16, the eastbound Cardinal, train #50, was an hour and 42 minutes late arriving in Staunton, where Katie got on. Then at Union Station, where I was waiting for her, the train managed to rack up another 44 minutes of delays, and thus ended up getting in at 8:21 PM. That would make it two hours and 26 minutes late. This thing was supposed to show up at 5:55 PM, which would have fit my schedule quite nicely. Leave work, take Metro to Union Station, wait a few minutes, get Katie, and then ride back to Glenmont. However, I found out about the Staunton delay from Katie well in advance, so no problems there. I compensated other places as far as that delay went, and ended up staying later at work, since there were a few things I needed to take care of anyway, and planned to arrive in time for the new delayed arrival. Okay.

So arriving at Union Station, I got in, and immediately checked the boards to see what the deal was. Another delay. Lovely. So I ended up just kind of wandering around Union Station for the next two hours, as I had nothing else to do. I was totally unprepared for a longer delay. However, I did have my iPod, and so at least I got to listen to Randi Rhodes (now on Nova M Radio!). And with headphones on was how I passed a good hour or so of that delay, as I went in and out of stores, seeing what amused me. I also managed to find a relatively quiet corner of the station to make a phone call, finding out about how things were going on the train from Katie. That quiet spot ended up being in a far corner of the parking garage, interestingly enough. But hey, it was nice out, so it worked. I got to watch train movements north of the station, and found out that the initial delay was due to weather, and then heavy rail traffic caused the delays closer in. Okay. Beyond the control of either one of us. What are you going to do, I suppose.

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Gotta love an evening with a bunch of my fellow Wikipedia geeks…

December 10, 2007, 11:40 PM

I’d say I had quite a busy weekend! First the protest on Saturday, and then a Wikipedia meetup on Sunday. Basically, a Wikipedia meetup is where editors of Wikipedia get together at a restaurant and shoot the breeze for a while over dinner. This is my second one, and they’re a lot of fun. This time, we went to Skewers, which is across the street from where I work.

All in all, it was a fun time. We discussed Wikipedia, and we discussed things other than Wikipedia. We even got metal barnstars at the end of the event. We also learned that while we’re serious about building an encyclopedia, we don’t take ourselves too seriously, when we noticed a typo on the menu, which printed “species” where “spices” was intended, and someone mentioned that we should edit the menu.

In the end, it was a lot of fun, and we got a photo of everyone, too:

The meetup group at Skewers

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Categories: Wikipedia

A Saturday evening at Union Station…

July 22, 2007, 7:53 AM

I went to the DC Wikipedia meetup with a coworker whom I met up with at Silver Spring, and we had a blast! The meeting was at Union Station, and we had dinner at Uno’s. I think first of all, it’s neat to see what all these various people look like in real life. I mean, normally, what do you see? Just their online handle. Me, I show up on there as just SchuminWeb. So it’s nice to put some faces on those names.

It was neat hearing about the various Wiki-activities that everyone’s been involved in, and what our various ways of dealing with ugly issues are. Some people try to resolve it. Some steer clear. Plus the stories we have. Articles that come up for deletion, survive, and then are renominated for deletion well down the road, and then die in the second nomination. Dealings with other users. You name it, we discussed it.

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Categories: Wikipedia

Now this ought to be fun…

July 15, 2007, 12:22 AM

Let’s add one more event to an already fun-filled weekend where I’m starting to have concerns about getting my housework done. Wikipedia’s having a DC meetup on Saturday, July 21 – the day before Mom and Sis arrive on their respective journeys. It’s going to be at Union Station at 5:00 PM at Uno Chicago Grill. I’d say this ought to be fun.

If nothing else, this will be a fun opportunity to meet face-to-face with some of the people that I work with regularly in building and tweaking an encyclopedia. I’ve met a few Wikipedians in person already, just going about life. As with this Web site, I have my photo on my Wikipedia user page, so I’m fairly recognizable.

So we’ll just add a sixth Metro day to the schedule for next week, going from Glenmont or Wheaton (I try to mix it up on the weekend) to Union Station. The general rule of thumb, however, is that I want to avoid riding Glenmont to Dupont Circle on an off-day – reminds me too much of going to work.

Speaking of Metro, one of my sister’s friends from Virginia Tech, whom I’ve also met before, recently told her that she saw me on the Metro on my way to work. As a general rule, folks: If you see me on Metro, say hello to me. I may look completely absorbed in my copy of the Express, but I’ll put it down in a second to have a good conversation.

And where they found me is no surprise – I do the same thing every day in my morning commute. I sit in the fifth car (sixth if it’s an eight-car train) of a Red Line train to Shady Grove, in the second row of seats behind the center door, on the left side of the train, with my copy of the Express. About the only difference day to day is the car number.

Categories: Wikipedia, WMATA

Oh, how I love some of the quirky messages I receive sometimes…

September 8, 2006, 1:40 AM

On my Wikipedia talk page, I really received a good message this time, from a user named “Joeferret”, entitled “On our relationship”. Here it is:

So Mr. Schumen. You rally for the deletion of my article. You spit on all of modern society’s conventions regarding peace and civility. And on top of all that, you sell thong underwear online. Hence, I have come to an important conclusion: you are my Newman. And thusly, I say this to you sir: Hello… Schumen… Joeferret 05:42, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Where do I start… first of all, the title, “About our relationship”. He makes it sound like we’re dating or something. I’ve never met this fellow, and I don’t think I particularly want to. Then he misspells “Schumin”. It’s not like he’s never seen my last name before. He mentions this Web site, so it’s not like he didn’t see it splattered all over that. My logo has that little orange dot up there, which indicates for all that it’s an “i” there, and not another vowel.

Then there’s the actual content of his article, which was titled “Anarcho-homosexualism”. Sounds like an interesting topic, but I couldn’t find anyone who could actually verify any of it, and a Google search of the term turned up zero results. Thus someone sent it to Articles for Deletion as original research (Wikipedia has a policy against original research), and I was one of the supporters in deleting it, where, interestingly enough, I was impersonated by someone in the process (see here), as well as having some of my comments modified by other users. Needless to say, this was not a “nice” AfD, since the article’s original creator acted like a lunatic throughout the whole process.

Of course, now the question then becomes why they chose to message me, over all the others participating in that discussion. And a full month after the debate ended, no less. I wasn’t nearly as hard on him as others were in that space. I was nice about things.

So all in all, go figure. Somehow I seem to attract some real fruit bars, both on Wikipedia, and at work as well (though on the latter, not so much lately).

Categories: Wikipedia

Photos of mine, printed ABOVE the fold…

August 28, 2006, 7:51 AM

How often can you say that your photos end up on the front page of the local newspaper? And above the fold, no less. If you look at the August 28, 2006 edition of The News Virginian, you will see two photos anchoring an article about the Skyline Parkway Motel, which, you may recall, had been abandoned for some time, and then was torched in 2004. Both of them are tagged with “Photo courtesy of BEN SCHUMIN”. Here are the photos that the newspaper ran:

Skyline Parkway Motel before the fire  Skyline Parkway Motel after the fire

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