June 2013 Archives

Manual SMTP to GMail

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Google has started requiring incoming mail to comply with more of RFC2822, particularly with respect to headers; to wit they won't accept incoming mail without a "From:" header. If you try to send without on, you'll get a rejection like this:

this message is not RFC 2822 compliant. To reduce the amount of spam
5.7.1 sent to Gmail, this message has been blocked. Please review
5.7.1 RFC 2822 specifications for more information. iw4si27447595pac.153 - gsmtp

This isn't an issue when you use a mail client, but if you're manually entering SMTP commands, it adds an extra requirement.  The following is a conforming session, or at least conforming enough -- the RFC requires a Date header as well, but Google isn't enforcing that

$ telnet smtp-server 25
220 SMTP_SERVER Microsoft ESMTP MAIL Service ready at Thu, 27 Jun 2013 22:45:15 -0400
250 SMTP_SERVER Hello []
mail from: my_address@domain
250 2.1.0 Sender OK
rcpt to: target_address@domain.gmail.com
250 2.1.5 Recipient OK
354 Start mail input; end with <CRLF>.<CRLF>
From: ME
Subject: testing SMTP

this is a test

(props to)

A Vessel

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Splinter Works, a UK-based design studio, has created what I think is safe to call the first hammock-inspired bathtub.  They've basically taken the ability of carbon fibre sheeting to form almost any shape and remain infinitely-strong and built the tub out of it.  2.7 meters long and mounted on 2 stainless-steel brackets, which can be hidden if desired it's not entirely functionless form, the thick foam center insulates the tub, keeping the hot water hot longer.   The optimal setting would be in a wet-room with the center-mounted drain of the tub just suspended over a drain in the floor, but they'll deign to provide a drain-pipe if needed. 





ps. neither the diaphanously-robed model nor the faux-Pollock come with.

Girard Perregaux (previously mentioned) has been in a bit of a funk recently, in terms of new products. They've put out slight modifications of their successful 1966 line and and ever-increasing number of "bridge" tourbillons, including some retina-searing jeweled pieces with Boucheron, but nothing innovative and technical. That has come to an end with the release of their Constant Escapement watch (there doesn't seem to be more of a name).

The escapement has been redesigned to solve the usual problem of isochronisity, that is even time keeping across the runtime of the mainspring. In the Constant Escapement, the silicon beam (really thin horizontal, slightly curved line), delivers a very precise impulse each time. Like holding a curved playing card (really easier when you watch the video down the post), which will "flip" position after pushing in the curve, the beam buckles and flips to the other stable position once per impulse. This flip allows one of the 2, 3-toothed escapement wheels, to move ahead. Yes, it's really overly complex, but it IS cool to watch. SJX has a better explanation with some pics of the unusual escapement parts.


Specs on the watch:
GP Ref. 93500-53-131-BA6C

  • Case: 18kt white gold, 48mm x 14.6mm, water resistant to 30 meters.
  • Movement: GP Cal. MVT-009100-0007
    • 28 jewels
    • 21,600 vph
    • power reserve of one week (7 days 168 hours), with linear display at 9 o'clock
  • MSRP: about 100,000 CHF



Ventresca, Robert A. Soldier of Christ: The Life of Pope Pius XII. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2013.

"Here they do nothing other than dance, night and day, in private homes and in public places.  The newspapers are filled with advertisements of dancing classes...of cafes and clubs for dancing....Just like the decadence of the Roman Empire: panem et circenses" - Pope Pius XII (58)

Pope Pius XII is most likely the most controversial modern Pope, particularly among non-Catholics.  The arguments surrounding his actions and inactions during the lead up to WWII are vociferous enough to be referred to as the "Pope Pius Wars."  From that frame of reference, Ventresca's biography attempts to neither condemn nor canonize, but present the entire life story of Eugenio Pacelli, the man who became Pope Pius XII.  In his major goal, he is successful, the Pius who emerges is neither the Quisling nor the prophet, but a man who tried led the Roman Catholic church through turmoil and upheaval, and who sometimes failed, but not the malicious "Nazi Pope" of some other portraits.  

With some minor complaints, I highly recommend this book, it provides a detailed explanation of the world from which Pacelli emerged, the so-called Black Aristocracy of Rome during the years of the Resurgimento.  This, and the time he spent as Papal Nuncio in intra-war Germany are critical influences on his behavior in the lead-up WWII.  As we get to the rise of Naziasm one oddity, a written tic almost, appears: the German government is never referred to as "German" from 1933 until 1945; it is the "Hitler Government" or the "Nazi Government", but never once the "German Government."  

Throughout the book, Ventresca provides what is lacking from the debates over Pius' wartime conduct, nuance and background.  It is also helpful that the book covers the postbellum period, the 13 years after 1945 figure less in the fighting about his legacy, but are important to create a complete portrait.   They are also influential in another way, it was his longevity that influenced the choice of John XXIII as his successor, which has proven to have been a momentous choice.

Jaquet Droz(previously mentioned) is often good for a classically styled watch, and their new Grand Heure GMT does not disappoint.  They've taken the F.Piguet 1150 caliber upon which most of their watches are based and reworked the display to be only a 24-hour hand, as well as adding a second 24-hour hand for another time-zone.  The rose-gold hand is local time and the blued-steel one is the other zone, both turning over an actual hard-fired enamel dial of an ivory color.  Both hands` are styled as legs of an old-fashioned pair of dividers, possibly to tap into that lucrative Freemason market.  As is usual for JD, the case is a rather large, but flat 43mm by about 12mm and the strap is alligator with rolled edges.  




Until recently it was thought that Nicholas Rieussec, now a model line from Montblanc, invented the proto-chronograph in the early 1820s. This was simply a machine with the ability to measure an interval of time from an arbitrary starting point. This was a crude thing with a dial which rotated under an inked nib, which could be dropped to make a small dot on command. In the last few months that invention has been superceeded by a much more "modern" chronograph, still more of a stopwatch, invented by Louis Moinet(see previous) in 1815. The machine was named the compteur de tierces, that is the counter of thirds - an archaic term for 1/60ths of a second, and includes all of the things we would expect in a modern stopwatch, including the ability to start, stop and reset the hands, a feature previously thought to have been invented in 1862 by Adolphe Nicole.


Described in Moinet's Traité Général d'Horlogerie, this watch is made the more impressive by its high frequency oscillating balance, 30hz, fast enough to make the tierce measurements pretty accurate. The movement was made in England, betrayed by the case hallmarks and the fusee, but also has some Franco-Swiss design elements, including the dial and the ruby-cylander mounted under a small, undecorated cock(yes, yes, yes...but the description is accurate).

Below is a layout of the movement pieces mostly disassembled. Only the fusee and chain, and one wheel are still mounted on the bottom plate
Below is the movement reassembled, but uncased. Visible through the hole in the plate is the large escape wheel, with the flying "feet" characteristic of the cylinder escapement.

(source 1, source 2)

Neat little MySQL trick:

mysql> \P grep -v Sleep
PAGER set to 'grep -v Sleep'

filters out the idle connections from the output of 'show processlist'


Unknown to the watch-collecting world until its appearence in the current Christie's (previously mentioned)auction, the oldest Patek Philippe(see previous) grand complication, was made in 1898 and sold in 1900 to Stephen Palmer for 6'000 CHF. It has been kept in the Palmeer family ever since and is being sold, quite remarkably, with the original box and papers, and a typed set of setting instructions from the original owner. The watch features the usual set of grand-complications, split-second chronograph, perpetual calendar with moonphase and minute-repeater with grand and petit sonnerie. Expected price is $1 to $1.5 million when it is sold as lot 71 at auction June 11, 2013.

In the above picture you can see the split-second mechanism, the peanut-shaped thing in the middle at the top and the ratchety wheel above, the main chronograph wheels, thin-walled brass wheels at the top of the movemenet, and the repeater chimes, steel wires encircling the movement. The Sonnerie and Minute repeater works would be under the dial, as is probably the perpetual calendar plate



Dressing for the big horse races, like the Kentucky Derby, has always been an exercise in eyecatching horror, but almost always limited to womens' wear, i.e. hats.  Finally someone is starting to tap the market of hippocentric men and their lack of sense, in this case Theo Fennell (see previous) with this pair of white gold cufflinks.  The inside of the binocular-shaped pieces are hand-painted enamels of the winning moment of a race, or something.  £7,500 if you're asking




Stupid Calculations is setting itself up as a blog for accurate, but stupid, math, not wholly unlike XKCD's What If. Their first post, which actually started on the NYC-centric Animal, is calculating the size of a monolith consisting of EVERY iPhone ever sold, and putting it right next to Central Park. Read the original article for all the fun math.



Patek Philippe(previous) has updated their former flagship, the 5002 Sky Moon Tourbillon, and released it as the ref. 6002, still called a Sky Moon Tourbillon.  The overall details remain mostly the same, 43.5×18mm case, in this case 18kt White Gold, manually-wound caliber RTO27QRSIDLUCL. providing the following features (letters in parenthesis are from the caliber name):

  • 55 Jewels
  • 48 Hour power reserve
  • Minute Repeater ®
  • Tourbillon (TO)
  • Sidereal Time (SID)
  • Retrograde perpetual calendar (QR) - this is the major change from the 5002, the addition of a retrograde calendar.
  • Moonphase (LU) and lunar progression
  • Display of the constellations of the northern hemisphere (CL I guess, it's all that is left)

The changes are mostly in the case, which has been deeply hand engraved on every possible surface, and the front dial, now cloisonné and champlevé enamel. The press-release claims 100 hours of labor into the case alone. If you have to ask, the answer is not available to your sort, Patek does not provide even MSRP for their high-end, and they only sell them to 'established' customers. The simple ref.5002 sold in the range of $1,500,000, so....




I'm not afraid to speak the truth, let the word go forth that Kali killed Chester A. Arthur!



It's a good thing they are safety matches, or someone might get hurt


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