Team Murder No Brain No Headache.

31Mar/03Off

The Fun Begins…

Damn. I haven't seen on truly believable April Fool's news story yet. Tom's Hardware actually reminded me that there will be a fair number of bogus stories tonight and tomorrow with the incredibly obvious Microsoft Buys Linux article. Ugh. No surprises there but I'm of course anxious to see all of the comments that will be attached to bogus new stories. It's probably the only day that I'll regularly check Slashdot if only to try to spot the fake stories.

There's also a Macintosh specific pranks page out there if you have any friends that are so disposed. I'm sure they have many other wonderful redeeming qualities.

The really funny part is that the final stage of layoffs is supposed to happen at my work tomorrow. Ah, what joy and mirth await me. I might actually go in a little early to watch the mayhem erupt. I guess that isn't very nice.

Ah, but the RFC for the evil bit in packet headers is already out there for your enjoyment:

Currently-assigned values are defined as follows:

0x0 If the bit is set to 0, the packet has no evil intent. Hosts,
network elements, etc., SHOULD assume that the packet is
harmless, and SHOULD NOT take any defensive measures. (We note
that this part of the spec is already implemented by many common
desktop operating systems.)

0x1 If the bit is set to 1, the packet has evil intent. Secure
systems SHOULD try to defend themselves against such packets.
Insecure systems MAY chose to crash, be penetrated, etc.

This is what makes all of this fussing and scheming worthwhile.

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31Mar/03Off

Seventy Seven Projects And Nothing On

Sourceforge For Debian is just starting but I'm curious what will happen in the future. It is a perfect complement to Apt-Get.org and some of the other unofficial projects that are picking up steam at the moment except that SfD is actually hosted on a Debian server. Still, 77 projects isn't anything to sneeze at for a couple days old. Ooops. There's a Slashdot thread about this already despite the announcement only being a couple of days old. There's also a Debian Planet story without many obnoxious and pointless comments attached in case you're not feeling the headache that comes along with reading anything at /. I actually read most most of the comments and didn't really find that much warranting even meandering attention. All of you ADHD types that wander over here for ten word summaries of large threads are safe yet again.

Smart Dust is the nanotech beginning we all fear/dream of. The recurring use of the word 'could' means that we probably don't need to worry about/invest in this too ridiculously soon but it is interesting to see that people are writing and thinking about this at the present.

Still, for all the promise, there are a number of technical obstacles to widespread commercial adoption. For instance, researchers are wrestling with design challenges in fusing MEMS and electronics onto a single chip, says Gary Fedder, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and robotics at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Need I say "magic dust?"

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31Mar/03Off

That Drum Solo Was So Far Freaking Out There That I Wanted To Take It With Me

Where did this day go? I swear that I fully intended to get so much more accomplished than I actually have but here it is extra-ultra-super late and I'm just finishing the things that I have to. That isn't a pleasant feeling like you're just maintaining or something.

Helping a friend resolve a few issues with a server that is doing bad things I just realized how much I hate hate hate the way that Red Hat just throws configuration files around. I literally have to look all over the place for things that should be in /etc. That ain't good. I also realized that I am not a sysadmin. Not. Not. Not. I fix more things than I break but really I'm not the guy for fixin' big stuff.

Blogs Against War is up and running although it really has very little to do with me. J. Kinyeta, Dru, and Adam truly are the shit and made huge things happen in a very short period of time. I just paid for some things. Go see it like now, man.

Denny emailed me about Regime Change In The US and I'm impressed with both. I think I'm more apt to read the stuff at his personal weblog because I'm really more interested on writing about the war (hell, about technology or anything) that is somehow connected to the person who is writing it. This entry epitomizes that so perfectly that I'm momentarily speechless. I'm finding out about so many good sites lately that I feel like I've been missing out on most of what it's all about for way too long. Damn. Must sleep for a while since I do actually have classes tomorrow after nearly a week of snow days and spring break. That's going to be strange after so much slack time. Woo.

Yep. I know. This entry is nearly content-free. So go read about the bizarro world of the Lawrence vs. Texas sodomy case and I'll try to come up with something more entertaining next time.

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30Mar/03Off

More Victory Logic With Few Surprises

You know it'd be vaguely comprehensible if Henry Norr was suspended for writing something critical of the war on Iraq (god forbid, in a Hearst run paper) but that isn't the case. He was arrested during a war protest on his fucking day off and was suspended after he called in late for work the next day. The important part here is that Norr is a tech writer and didn't actually write anything about the war. He's also a very good writer who knows his shit and tends to actually break stories rather than simply repackaging them (much like this repackaging of a Register article) without adding anything original. It's pathetic that all pretenses of journalistic objectivity have completely flown out the window over the past couple of weeks. Is this really what people want? I hope not.

I've also been trying to find out more about this story of journalists being beaten and detained by the U.S military.

Luis Castro and his cameraman Victor Silva are well and now staying in Kuwait, dos Santos told Lusa news agency.

Castro was kicked around and Silva was brutalised, he added. They were held inside a jeep for 36 hours, accused of spying and forbidden to contact anybody until they were freed by an officer.

Scemama told his network they had spent the worst 48 hours of their lives during their detention.

"The American soldiers said we were terrorists and spies and treated us as such ... in spite of our explanations they threatened us for hours with their arms," said Scemama.

Yup. The brave soldiers giving their lives to defend our right to bomb the hell out anyone who disagrees with us. Great. Just great.

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29Mar/03Off

The Right Kind Of Bomb

Ryan McDonough thoughtfully informed me about this short movie (Flash) that lays out the line of events (mis)leading from the 09/11 attacks to the current war on Iraq. It's very well done and is a solid timeline of how we got to this very fucked up time and place. There is no more powerful evidence against our government than the words of those who run it. Thank you Ryan.

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29Mar/03Off

The Movement Widens…

Mark Pilgrim posted a big long list of peaceblogs over at his site. I'll try to email him when there is a resolved page for pings over at Blogs Against War. I'm glad to see so many listed. PeaceBlogs is absolutely out of control now with 653 weblogs listed with 34 countries represented. Brazil has a huge, huge number listed. That is totally fucking inspiring.

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29Mar/03Off

An Entire Day Late

Man. These anti-GPL screeds are getting old and they aren't exactly aging to a fine vintage. I know that this is going to be linked half to death and attacked in ways that I can hardly imagine by the horde of bandwidth consuming monsters any second now, by this essay is so off the mark that it's little more than panicky reactionary ranting. I think one of the most fundamentally misunderstood aspects of the GPL is that it really does not intend to protect the developer, it is intended to protect the availibility of code. This fundamental misunderstanding is particularly funny in this case because the assumed subject of this essay is popular misconceptions of the GPL. Dude, it's like that Mad Magazine cover where Alfred E. Neuman is holding a copy of Mad Magazine with a picture of Alfred E. Neuman holding a copy of Mad Magazine...

I'm going to quote a passage here (fair use, pal) because the error is closer to the truth than the author would ever admit (hint, try dict dearth, dude):

The GPL has created a dearth of poorly conceived, poorly maintained, poorly written software. There are also quite a few good GPL applications. Suffice it to say, that most of the applications that are good and are GPL usually have corporate roots. I surmise that most of the companies releasing software under the GPL are not releasing their code under the GPL for the right reasons.

This paragraph exemplifies much of what I consider the arrogance and shortsightedness of many folks who rail against the GPL. The money part of the question is something the critic injected into the argument. It really is about the code whether it is hacked on by corporate coders or me in between research papers and my day job. It's about being able to fix problems without having those changes folded in and locked away from you. The software is protected and your need for some meaningful exchange of dollars is simply not part of the equation. This is all pretty obvious stuff but I see it twisted into new and more laborious rants all the time.

Note: The author has made several corrections to the original text since I started writing this yesterday. There are still a few problems but at least the too funny to be anything but parody usage of "dearth" is gone. Phew.

The central problem with all of this crusading against the GPL is that it really fails to understand the purpose of the license. If you think the GPL is difficult to read and understand (and every effort has been made to make it more readable than your average legal document and provide commentary outside of the license itself) then really take the time to try to read and fully understand all of the legal implications of off-the-shelf EULAs. I guarantee you'll come back to the GPL with a new found respect for its clarity. In the end, it just isn't the FSF's problem if you don't understand the license. There are hundreds of thousands of words of discussion (and several books) that discuss all the ramifications of creating works under the GPL. Following an outmoded model of producing hobbyist software with a less than free model of licensing warrants you a spot in the download section of CNet just like all the other would-be microbusinessmen. Failing to understand the percentage of software development under the GPL that goes on internally says a lot about the author's knowledge about larger projects.

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28Mar/03Off

Clubbing The Human Spirit To Death With Credit Cards: Act II Scene Three.

For some reason I am dog-fucking-tired and declined a free meal so I could sit all saggy and deflated typing this garbage that no one will/should ever read. The least I could do is tell you that Dru's main weblog is 89% broken and that you can keep up here for the time being. This will eventually be fixed if kd doesn't loose her shit and strangle someone first.

Lucky me. I live in a state that has a make the DMCA up close and personal for people who use one form of encryption or another bill up for consideration. Unfortunately (the insult added to injury) the bill is only available in a PDF format so I can't quote the relevant sections. The basic gist is that anything you do to conceal either the sender or destination of a "communication" from the service provider is a bad thing. I haven't looked at the penalties for Mass. and Texas but the ones cited in the Colorado version are pretty rough. Felonies, kids, felonies. Edward W. Felten points out that:

Worse yet, Network Address Translation (NAT), a technology widely used for enterprise security, operates by translating the "from" and "to" fields of Internet packets, thereby concealing the source or destination of each packet, and hence violating these bills. Most security "firewalls" use NAT, so if you use a firewall, you're in violation.

If you have a home DSL router, or if you use the "Internet Connection Sharing" feature of your favorite operating system product, you're in violation because these connection sharing technologies use NAT. Most operating system products (including every version of Windows introduced in the last five years, and virtually all versions of Linux) would also apparently be banned, because they support connection sharing via NAT.

I can't imagine this bill will actually pass as is but the very fact that a whole slew of bills with very similar intent are being considered across the country does not bode well for the few tattered shreds of liberty that Shrub will no doubt grind and macerate for the MiniShrubs to snort lines of with a rolled up copy of the Bill of Rights. Yeah, that's probably a bit much. You know those girls have the bitchin' chromed snorters that you can autoclave after slumming with too many viagra addled frat boys with a dim understanding of hygiene. Someday we'll all look fondly back on the days when we thought we had a future and sigh deeply underneath our Halliburton™ brand gas masks.

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28Mar/03Off

Taking Into Account The Viscosity Of Sheep Manure, Of Course

This is an interesting article simply because it gives a introspective look at the people reporting on the war and the complications they're encountering doing anything but simply regurgitating Pentagon flack. This is all good and nice but this:

"If you are embedded, you are inside a military bubble and you can't talk to civilians because they are running away from you," said John Donvan, an ABC reporter who has made forays into southern Iraq, where conditions are among the most chaotic in the country. "I think I would go nuts being assigned to a single unit."

says much more than most news stories can about the reliability of most news sources these days. Life would be so much easier if I could just blame the Times for all the bad reporting. Damn my liberal absense of absolutes. My bullshit detector really is the only moral compass I need.

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28Mar/03Off

Fair And Balanced

Oh shit. A (oh, how I loathe this term and only use it for the sake of humor and/or mockery) fisking simulated at The Onion. The only thing missing is the relentless use of the same twelve buzzwords that came out of *pundit's piehole the other day. I imagine that future parodies will take this criticism into account. Have I mentioned lately that I wish that The Onion had a tangible torso so I could give it a hug? Sheffering, anyone?

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27Mar/03Off

Buried Hatchet Dug Up And Paraded Around

On the couch with a second wind and wide eyed at the speed of gVim on this machine compared to emacs. Sometimes I forget what a monster that editor is and that I really don't need to browse the web/make toast/convert currency with my editor when resources are limited. Of course, this limitation is mainly due to me being too lazy to walk my ass over to the desk and multiply my power incrementally. Laziness is a virtue, right?

I've been reading and rereading this article about proposed green computers. I think I'm a little too out of it and couched to really get the full gist of it but any movement towards less environmentally destructive machines is a good thing. I'm guessing that the push of this initiative (at least given the Energy Star rating comparisons) is power conservation but I'm more interested in hardware that isn't so reliant on materials that will never decompose. Especially with the insane fluctuation in what a usuably fast machine is lately I'm wondering if tech trash isn't going to be one of the worst overall pollutants in the next couple of decades. Moore's Law is all fucked now and hardware is actually cheap enough for the consumer of slightly higher than moderate means to keep pretty close to the cutting edge. This is another fine reason to advocate reuse of older machines for Linux boxen to act as mail servers and firewalls. I wish this sort of persuasion wasn't so difficult especially when Microsoft product is more expensive than the machinery that it runs on. The arms race is seemingly endless. This machine

Japan's NEC in particular has taken the lead with launch of its PowerMate eco at last year's August Comdex show. The PowerMate eco contains no lead, is made of NEC-developed, 100% recyclable "NuCycle" plastic, and uses no fan thanks to its low-power Transmeta chip and laptop components.

sounds like the right idea although I'm sure that price will factor in there somehow -- that predictable added expense for responsible design seals the burn.

If you're ever wondering why Apple users are not taken terribly seriously this thread over at MacSlash epitomizes the popular idea of the fruity Mac user getting all bent out of shape about window decorations or theming. There's even a petition that someone started. The public relations department at Apple is either lobotomized or the angriest bunch of people on the planet. I can't imagine being forced to take this seriously. It's kind of sad that this is still the case now that Apple is actually using a solid foundation for their operating systems. Not my problem I guess since I don't have to deal with the machines or their users very often. Some of the people whose support calls I used to answer act all betrayed when I tell them I don't throw away preferences for a living any more. Sorry, sorta. Maybe it's some kind of creativity poisoning.

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27Mar/03Off

Killing The Messenger Softly

I'm feeling lazy today so I'm going to relay a couple of things that might be of interest to y'all, a bluebird will land on my shoulder, and then I'm going to make some popcorn and watch TV with Yoon. Planning is important.

Looks like there have been some revisions to the definition of what constitutes child pornography which sounds good since the previous proposal was so broad that its potential for abuse was virtually unlimited. The new version seems to be a cleaned up version of the previous with language aimed at bypassing court objections. They exclude that "computer generated" part and simply added a clause about the intent of the media. It's better than nothing but, damn, you can pass any piece of shit legislation these days if you pay lip service to children or terrorism.

The Free Software Foundation is accepting your benevolent corporate dollars so hit up your boss to kick down some flow after you've used gcc for the past decade instead of that piece of shit Borland coughed up. Those GPL violation investigations are expensive. No, that is not sarcasm.

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27Mar/03Off

Trusted Debian

I've been reading up (on Debian Planet and other places) about the Trusted Debian Project and liking a lot of what I'm reading. Most of the criticism that I've read is either the pointless OS News sort (read: trolling for the extinct operating system of your choice) or wondering aloud why this effort isn't funneled straight into stable. This dearth of reading comprehension frays the nerves.

I think it's a great and feasible idea because the project seeks to narrow the number of available packages and squash the common bugs before they have a chance to be exploited. You really can't hope to have that kind of security auditing in the main packages of Debian when there are thousands of packages even in stable. The eventual aim is to implement the RSBAC patches into the kernel as a standard. PaX is already part of the project but it's nice to see them looking forward.

People have already been complaining about the limited number of packages available but limiting the scope of the project seems to be the only sane way of insuring that real auditing can happen in a timely manner. It seems a little silly and shortsighted to get all wadded up over a distribution aimed completely at the server side for not including the new, sexy, and possibly buggy packages. I'm pretty impressed with how far along this project is and that they've figured out a pretty simple upgrade path from a basic Woody install.

The basic deal:

The v0.9 beta release has the following features:

* Linux 2.4.20 kernel
* Simple upgrade from a normal Debian 3.0 (i.e. Woody) installation
* PaX non-executable data kernel patch (with maximum security settings)
* IBM stack smashing protector patch for GCC (formerly known as ProPolice)
* Almost all packages containing C/C++ files have been recompiled using the patched GCC compiler
* Many packages which contain executables have been recompiled to maximize the use of the PaX address layout randomization (this includes the most important servers, like BIND, Apache, Postfix and OpenSSH).
* FreeS/WAN 1.99 (with X.509 support)
* A patched Orinoco WLAN driver and libpcap to support airsnort
* HostAP drivers, to make it possible to use Trusted Debian as a WLAN base s tation.
* Snort IDS and Zorp firewall packages from unstable (the most recent ones)
* The first Linux distribution which makes compilation for PaX easy.

That said, it is a beta and I'm sure subsequent releases will have more goodies although all that recompilation is undoubtably very time consuming. Good stuff.

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27Mar/03Off

Big X Poop

A couple of things to relate before I go to my doom to sleep:

A paranoia inducing tale about equipment that's been tampered with and badly reassembled. He freely admits that he sounds like a tinfoil hat candidate but there are photos for chrissakes. He's also asking that if anyone else has experienced similar weirdness and isn't already hiding away in their secret command bunker that they drop him a line to compare notes. Great. All I need is just a few more reasons to be completely paranoid and suspicious.

An Ebay seller refuses to sell to a buyer because he's from Canada and makes the whole ball of freedom wax just a little bit more surreal. Our neighbors to the north are apparently not as fond of the whole bloodthirsty butcher thing. We should be congratulating them instead of embarrassing ourselves even more than we already have. If the U.S wasn't basically a giant gunboat with First Church of The Apocalyse altar boys running it the rest of the world would be laughing a lot harder and a lot more publically. Do you think we could just elect litigate a rabid pitbull and maybe a magic eightball into the Oval Office next time?

Speaking (whining? wailing? yes, kids I can make fun of myself) of delinking I finally had to delink Linux and Main. I'd considered this a few times because it seems the site is slowing down and the tone of the last couple of articles posted there has not sat well with me. There was a large notice replacing the index about a recent crack of their site. I expect anger but to blame it on pro-Saddam Hussein Islam crackers and then recommend a donation to the Republican National Committee is a little bit much even if it was intended as some ha-ha-nudge-nudge humor. So sorry that I'm not at all osorry.

There was one other thing that I wanted to mention but X decided to take a big poop before I had time to temporarily bookmark it. It's the unfortunate side effect of running unstable versions of everything: sometimes the software is actually unstable. Whatever gets the bug reports generated and filed, I guess.

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27Mar/03Off

You Ever Seen Easy Rider?

Everywhere you look lately there seems to be cognitive dissonance about what exactly "supporting the troops" means. I just stumbled across this guy who apparently feels it's his duty to drive over people in wheelchairs to keep them from protesting the war. The really brilliant zinger is his reference to himself as a "sacrificial lamb." Gotta love it. Again I am reminded of the Columbine shootings which happened a couple of miles down the road from where I live. For months afterwards any mention of guns, schools, or anything that could tangentally related to school shootings or how jocks tend to harass people who aren't exactly like them would make everyone get all silent and smug and spouting about how we're all Columbine. The gist is that weeping people with very little to do with anyone who was either killed or hurt there would use Columbine as a semantic shield to hide behind everytime they lapsed into babbling about Jeebus as a counterargument. I feel the same way about supporting the troops. Before you pounce:

"I've got a couple of relatives over there," the Westwood resident said in explaining his thinking when the incident occurred. "We've got soldiers over there in harm's way. We should back them. Be American. Back your president. Don't support Saddam Hussein. That's what they're doing."

"I'm pleading not guilty," Watters said. "What I did was wrong. I did break a few laws, but I'm not guilty. I'm going to be a sacrificial lamb. I'm willing to stand up for that."

The next time your little flag addled brain is tempted to trot out that little number you might want to consider it before shooting off your mouth. If you're really up for a challenge you might consider all of the wonderful implications that come along with menacing people who are protesting for peace. Do you think Shrub will issue body bags for your souls or are they just being auctioned off to buy more yellow ribbons and support our troops tie tacks?

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26Mar/03Off

Today I Am A Fan

Damn you people. I'm encountering so many good pieces of writing today that I'm feeling like all I can do is sigh in admiration and add blockquote tags. This one comes from [email protected]@r the ex-lion tamer

the continuing teary-eyed 50's era sentimentality of many americans with basic reality-facing issues continues to astound me. i just got a spam in the mail about the supposed religious significance of the 13 folds of the american flag at military funerals, with an urgent note at the top to "distribute to everyone on your email list, especially people who have been protesting the war! don't they know that america is what gives them the privilege of protesting in the first place!"

uh-nh. child. protesting. a RIGHT. given by none, ever. only fought for. go back and read your american history.

the best thing i ever heard an unapologetic marxist say was at a women's pro-choice rally in san francisco where a leader of a marxist women's organization reminded the crowd, "there isn't a single right that americans or anyone else for that matter enjoy today that was given to them by a government--THEY FOUGHT FOR IT!" and, more often then not, they fought against the government for it, whether it was through protest or some other venue.

how do we reach people so completely narced out on government propaganda that they run around like little radios with their dials stuck on RFA? how do you reach people who listen to right wing shock jocks and pump their fists and go "yeah!!! go usa!!!" how does one reason with such people?

because we've got to. we have got to. i know you don't want to friends. i know you want to hide behind your soy lattes and vegan muffins. fuck, i sure want to. i don't want to talk to those people or listen to them or even fucking see them on my bus. i want to pretend they don't exist.

but we can't. we just can't. because our fellow americans are being duped and used. it's not their fault. most of them are good people. they've been manipulated and exploited by this fucking insane system. and i believe that even the worst of them has a chance of being woken up--hopefully without losing the use of the lower half of their bodies like ron kovic, but it has to be possible.

Thanks [email protected]@r for getting to the real heart of the matter. Thinking like this is crucial and a powerful antidote to the "if you ain't behind the war you'se might as well shoot a soldier" babbling that the right wing folks are spewing in gallons and hogsheads.

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26Mar/03Off

Let’s Be Friends With Our Friends

I've generally found Mad Penguin a very friendly place. From basically the first day that I created an account and tentatively threw out a couple of posts in the forums I've learned something or been able to answer a question for someone. It seems to be at exactly the right size at the moment. The articles are good, the users are generally friendly and not prone to pointless flaming, and suggestions are always taken seriously. It's what a Linux news/community site should be. This article is a definitive example of how to intelligently attack a corporate entity's ideas.

I believe in Linux and its potential to change the computing world as we know it. Linux is meant to be free (like beer, not money). This is not to say that I think we should all be downloading to our hearts content without giving back to the community. Whether that is in the form of money, code, support, etc. doesn?t really matter to me. I also believe in the GPL and what it stands for. We should all have the right to use code and modify it to our fit our individual needs. This includes the ability to repackage and sell the code (or support for it) if we so desire. This is what makes Linux what it is, and keeps things moving along as fast as they do. Development and support for Linux is like nothing else in the industry.

Yes, this is basically non-mersh mersh but if you're at all interested in free software this is a place you need to visit.

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26Mar/03Off

Ten Paces. Aim At Foot. Fire.

Phew. I just spent a fair amount of time setting up a Debian box at work here at work. Since I'm one of the last few left after layoffs and graduations and whatnot I've finally weaselled my way into having a decent operating system on less than prehistoric hardware. The keyboard is pretty objectionable but I'm not going to argue any more than I already have.

Surprisingly most of the layoffs so far have actually worked out for the best since a lot of the old dudes waiting around to retire or die have been laid off first. That still leaves a lot of room for ambiguity in bumping and seniority but at least the initial cuts were logical instead of loyal to the good old boys network. I guess that makes a lousy situation slightly more tolerable. It worked out for me 'cause now I have a real box to work on instead of laboriously installing windows ports of the applications I'm used to using. Now it's a just a matter of getting everything exactly the way I want it.

I've been reading a little bit about the uber controversial Adobe rendering benchmarks page which is so shortsighted that I actually laughed aloud. I thought the point of being a software vendor was to open your software to as many platforms as possible and here we have Adobe shooting themselves in the foot. Apple's response contains that sort of sentiment but I have to wonder what the hell Adobe was thinking. Apple fans are pretty thin skinned and have long memories. What part of "marketing is not a tool for seppuku" do they not understand?

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26Mar/03Off

War With The Newts

Heh. I just made a snide (and mainly joking) comment about cross posting and I'm about ready to do it myself. This is mainly because I responded at length to an older post that's about ready to slide off the front page into archival oblivion. You can read the original comment attached to the post or you can read it here. Bill doesn't have an explicit license anywhere on his site so I'm going to assume that it's not okay to reproduce it wholly here. Anyway:

I hate cross posting and I hate the fact that justifications are piled up for what is basically a meaningless war. Sure, Saddam Hussein is a brutal dictator but so are the heads of many other countries that we're allied with and in some cases the U.S. is basically what props these folks up.

What bugs the hell out of me about this kind of argument is that if we were really interested in making the world safe for democracy our primary target would be North Korea. There people are literally starving to death and the proof of menacing weapons of mass destruction doesn't hinge on some pipes that might be a component. Is it apathetic to point out that our government is grasping at straws to justify this action? Is it pointless moral indignation to wonder how the hell the attack on the World Trade Center somehow snowballed into this mess with an entirely different country? How many open cesspools do you need to stand in front of before your bullshit detector goes off? As for theoretical morals could you explain the explicitness and concrete nature of waging a war against terror or against evil?

I decided to add a few more thoughts onto the end:
I've never said that I think suffering and oppression are a good thing or things that don't need intervention. It's the spinelessness of sheepish 180 degree recapitulations that I'm bothered by. I probably should've been more precise about this to begin with but it adds another element to the mix that I've neglected: justification. When a huge number of the people who allegedly elected you are opposed to a war, are you justified? When you need to violate U.N. policy to correct another policy violation, are you justified? When you need to suppress free expression here in the U.S. to squelch the outraged roar of a huge number of citizens, are you justified? When members of your own government resign in disgust rather than carrying on the charade of crusading for freedom, are you justified? When the citizens of the country you're attacking are not happy to see you and you're surprised by the "unexpected resistance", does that mean your actions are justified? Now I'd think that most people were stubbornly stupid to aggressively support a war like this from the beginning but when people suddenly change opinions to avoid public scrutiny by the more bloodthirsty I begin to wonder if people are simply spineless or whether I need to start fashioning tinfoil hats against cosmic brainwashing rays. I invoke the freedoms that everyone is always trying to tell me are so crucial to the American way of life. I'm tired of seeing them used only as a bloody shirt waved around to hush people up when their opinions clash with the powers that be.

I probably should note before ending this and staggering off to bed that this is a reaction to a number of different comments and emails that I've waded through over the past couple of days. I didn't really mean to unload all this venom on one person but then again I don't do this to make friends...

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26Mar/03Off

Said Gun

Must be the lingering "wow, I had a mediated experience in a wooded area" vibe but for some reason I'm using vim instead of emacs to edit text. This distinction is meaningful for like two people reading this but I feel like I'm cleaning existential house here and using an editor suitable for everything but simplicity just seems contrary. Plus I get to edit rc files and use the escape key. Whooo.

I noticed that Intel heeded the call and is going to add Linux friendliness to the new, sexy, expensive Centrino chips. I wasn't that worried about since by the time one of those chipsets trickles down from a pointy hair that uses it exclusively to view PowerPoint attachments to me I'd assume that some kind of hack would surface anyhow. It's a nearly imperceptible advantage to being a poor and therefore very late adopter. My machines are fast enough but hardly pinup material. It is nice that they've officially waved the white flag on the subject though. A couple people have already given me shit about that which is funny because they're jobless right now and the biggest buying decision in that person's future is what flavor Top Ramen to stock up on. All of this shouldn't astonish anyone given Intel's stock in Red Hat but it does and I wonder if anyone reads anything other than the funny pages.

I spoke way too soon about being delinked and of the handful of hostile email messages. As soon as I was being all indignant and bugged an avalanche of really nice mail came in from supportive and/or like minded folks as attached to their keyboards as mine. Thanks. As much as I try not to care it really does help and I do appreciate it.

Spencer gets my favorite post so far today with this:

Regarding the war, I just saw the new System of a Down video. It's directed by Michael Moore, and it features footage of protests mixed with various war clips. It definitely sums up how I feel: We shouldn't kill innocent people as a way of bringing peace. We shouldn't ignore all of the other problems in America just to go after a country that isn't a direct threat right now. I've been anti-war-against-Iraq since before America even planned a war, and I'm sick of hearing that I'm not an "American" because of it. Well, you know what? I don't care. I hate this country and everything it stands for. I hate the people, the government, and most of all, the arrogance. If you're thinking I should love America or get the fuck out, then you've just put yourself in the same category as all of the other idiots who live in this God-forsaken place. If you have a right to drive a gas-sucking SUV while putting on makeup and talking on the phone, I have a right to hate this country. Deal with it.

I didn't really mean to quote the whole thing verbatim but he doesn't have the permalinks happening and it's just too damn refreshing to see people put real feeling out there instead of all the tip toeing around that's been expected since the shooting at Columbine. Thank you. I'm wondering what all of you who've fallen silent since the war started are really thinking. Say it.

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26Mar/03Off

Trolling Myself

I'm back from the woods. Well, I'm back from the vacation cottage. It didn't turn out to be much of a vacation other than having more time than usual to hang out with Yoon without cell phones ringing and other nonsense. The only problem was that she was sick. We went out to dinner on the night we first arrived and she got some bad seafood of some kind. She spent most of the extended weekend sleeping and I tore through many videotapes and a healthy chunk of "As I Lay Dying." While this does bring my movie consumption somewhat closer to the America quota of like one a week or whatever it did not make for much of a vacation. I'm glad to be home. I made a new banner. I'm not very happy with it. -1 Redundant.

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22Mar/03Off

I Took The Blue Pill This Time

We're headed to the mountains for a couple of days. No interWeb allowed. See y'all when I get back next week.

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22Mar/03Off

Blogs Against War Dot Net

So, I registered that domain name for a project that Dru is working on (and kinyeta is generously hosting) since she is absolutely awesome and crazy for doing so many things so well simultaneously. I'm not sure when it'll actually go live but when it does I'll be sure to let folks know. I really do like the idea: a metablog that other folks can ping with entries about anti-war topics. Thus ends a gratituitous trackback ping entry...

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22Mar/03Off

Caring Less All The Time

I've had a couple people tell me that they're delinking me because I'm not supporting the troops™. I didn't really want to mention it because it seems a little "woe is me" or something but the more I think about it the more I am amused. Apparently that libertarian streak that runs through the open source movement (an uneasy alliance if there ever was one) does not back freedom of expression. If anyone has any questions on my reasoning for being numbered among the free software hippies, here is your fucking answer you corporate war drone. Delink at will because I care so little now about scaling up to the enterprise level that we really don't have that much to say to each other right now anyway. Hope that war thing works out for you. I'd love to support troops by not sending them off to the desert to die.

ps. Iraq is actually under a secular government, asshat.

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22Mar/03Off

One More Reason To Turn That Shit Off

No real big surprise here but it seems that Clear Channel is sponsoring pro-war rallies. If you really need a corporation (much less one that seeks control of radio) to support your "activism" you are hurting. Somehow I doubt much tear gas will be released or very many rubber bullets fired at those rallies. Nothing like betting on the government run horse, eh?

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21Mar/03Off

A Vessel For The Media

I haven't had a whole lot to say here today. I'm pretty media saturated and burned out on even thinking about war. I'm just pretty numb which is a polite way of saying that I've seen way too much footage of Baghdad exploding to make any rational commentary on it. I know that cogent political analysis is not the reason that most people come here but I still feel like I should have something more than "this sucks" to say about this disaster.

Yoon and I are going away for a couple of days to go hide in the mountains. We leave tomorrow. I'm going to try to unplug completely during that time. It's way too easy to become obsessive about watching the war on television. I need to stop.

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20Mar/03Off

The Horrible Sound Of Receding Spines

It just isn't time to sleep now. I should be working on a paper but I've stalled out at around the 650 word mark. This is a terrible litmus since I'm writing a short story but I still feel compelled to hit the 1000 word mark if I'm going to hand something in.

My unfortunate tendency towards masochism got up on its hind legs and I took a random run through some warblogger crap. It really hasn't changed much in the last five months or so. The shrillness has climbed up several notches but it's still the same old crud: This thing that I (meaning the hive mind that I am a part of) am opposed to must be mocked in very callous terms while jokes about things that I sensitive about (although they really have nothing to do with me 9-11-4eva!) are very bad and un-American. It's the worst sort of tedium played out in hundreds of thousands of words most of them in quotations. Maybe it's the weird personal ad vibe that most warblogs give off that makes me feel like I need a half dozen showers.

The creepy "not supporting the war effort is the equivalent to killing U.S troops" rhetorical device (yes, I know that doesn't exactly work) has been discussed in many places and contexts now. It is still pretty disturbing but I'm all too comfortable with logical problems in warblogger rationale. What is irksome to me right now are all the folks sitting in the middle. I'm talking about the dissolution of dissenting voices because the war has already started. It strikes me as a slightly more reasoned version of the first poorly constructed statement. Oh, and it's pretty spineless. I'm sorry your x family member is in the military. I'm sure they'd rather not be at war right now. I don't think they should be either. I have a philosophical disagreement with war that cancels out all of the accusations and throwing around of the vicious dictators that we (meaning the U.S) don't support anymore as far as I'm concerned. You can throw all the circumstances at me that you'd like but no amount of flag waving and coffin preaching is going to convince me that war is a necessity or really anything other than a convenience. You cannot justify piles of bodies by pointing at older piles of bodies. I'm just not buying.

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19Mar/03Off

War On The Tube

Our war has indeed been gotten on and I've been watching bits and pieces of it on the televison where American civilians are supposed to observe it. That constant shot of the skyline of Baghdad is creeping me out. It reminds me of a set from a high school play or something. I finally had to leave the room with the television in it. I don't want to get sucked into the minute-by-minute news coverage that accompanies this sort of war. You know, the big logo sporting event war that we're accustomed to since v. 1.0 of this war a decade or so ago. We watch the explosions on the screen and wait. I'm done for the moment although I know I'll be drawn back in eventually. This is so pointless.

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