Team Murder No Brain No Headache.

30Apr/04Off

A Snowball With A Rock Packed Into The Middle

Looks like it was another slow news day elsewhere so Slashdot is speculatively stirring the Gentoo pot after drobbins left the project and a new version was released just a couple of days back. The content of the news item is, of course, just links with little commentary but I expected to find the usual 5 gazillion +4 Funny comments attached to it and didn't. A lot of people had largely positive things to say other than (and I agree with this) the misguided assertion that Gentoo is only x dollars away from enterprise deployment.

I've been using Gentoo almost exclusively since Christmas break and it really made me enthusiastic about Linux again. Debian really seemed dead and stagnant (and this is running the unstable branch of the distribution) at the time although that situation has improved immensely over the past couple of months and I needed to do something different. It really has been a long and complicated process becoming comfortable with the Gentoo way of doing things after several years of daily Debian use but I think it's largely worth it. Yes, the initial install is a little sketchy and I actually repeated it twice which shares responsibility between the CD documentation being out of synch with portage and my own incompetence. The second install has been a dream in terms of flexibility and raw speed. Stability is still a little wanting but I think X is the culprit there.

I had an epiphany of sorts tonight while taking a break from doing repetitive and crushingly boring homework. I decided to give Java another whirl since my first tentative whacks at it were rushed and frustrating. I wanted to get an overview of the available tools so Eclipse and Sun Java Studio. With Gentoo this is very simple, there are ebuilds for both and basically you grab a copy of the necessary stuff from the sources and you're finished after a little post-install tweaking. There's also a wonderful utility called java-config that allows you to easily toggle whatever JRE or SDK you wanna use. With Debian you have to go rooting around at Apt-Get.org to even get an SDK and you're entirely on your own for the Sun stuff much less a non-broken version of Eclipse. One of the definite drawbacks of Debian is the absolute adherence to the Debian way of doing things. Although Debian is by far the most dependable in terms of freedom of beer and speech it doesn't give you nearly as much room for playing around and experimentation as Gentoo does. I'm not saying that this is bad per se because at very least you always know what you're getting but at times it is boring as fuck. Flexibility is anathema to that and the reward for a little bit of configuration is being able to do basically whatever you want within the distribution. Hell, there's even Break My Gentoo if you're really impatient. I'm not quite that impatient but I have less and less patience for being told what I should or shouldn't do by the proxy of it being difficult.

Yeah, so the gist is that I'm in fucking around mode again. That and looking for a job. Unbearable fun.

Filed under: General No Comments
29Apr/04Off

When You Don’t Know What You’re Talking About Common Courtesy Demands That You Shut Up

I tend to harp on things that are poorly designed and most of the people that I hang out with or work with know this. I'm not an asshat as far as I know but I tend to get agitated by things that don't work well or are potentially dangerous when used what seems to be correctly. I think one of the most harmful things possible is to pretend to understand things. I am a geek and therefore have absolutely no problems reading the fucking manual whenever necessary.

This expose of bad design speaks volumes about the writers lack of knowledge of either the object he is talking about or the knowledge/needs of its users. I happen to be a Type 1 diabetic so I'm all too familiar with both the N and R type insulin in the photos. I'll agree that the bottles do look alike but what's inside them is completely different. N type insulin is actually a suspension of a different type of insulin in a base of R that is usually labeled NPH instead of just N. If you're at all paying attention and RTFM (ie. inspecting the vial before you inject any of its contents into your body) this should not be difficult to distinguish at all. One is cloudly and one is transparent. Geez. Anyone who has has any kind of medical attention post diagnosis is well aware of all of this but can obviously be helped by some guy who noticed how dangerous the packaging is. Way to go buddy.

Filed under: General No Comments
28Apr/04Off

Some Companies Will Buy Anything

I'm not quite sure what to make of the TurboLinux announcement about Windows Media licensing or whether any of it concerns anyone. I play WM stuff with Codeweavers Plugin software which is also commercial but feeds improvements back into WINE. The announcement from TL came as a surprise more because I'd long since assumed they'd disappeared into obscurity or bankruptcy. The more interesting thing to note is this:

Home users can now watch feature DVD movies and Windows Media streaming video on "Turbolinux 10 F". CyberLink's PowerDVD for Linux is included in the new "Turbolinux 10 F" and supports Content Scramble System (CSS), an encryption system widely required by studios to protect popular Hollywood and theater movies. Turbolinux engineers developed new software called Turbo Media Player that works with xine, a widely-used Linux media engine, to make it possible for customers to watch streaming video in Windows Media format. Turbolinux is the first Linux company to form a relationship with CyberLink to allow viewing of encrypted movies in different international DVD regions established by the major studios.

Some of it is news and other parts are crass marketing to the clueless. Let's just say that there's nothing bundled into that distro that I can't already do but I imagine that it will be more convenient. I wonder why they bother licensing the MS stuff if Xine is the application that utilizes it?

Filed under: General No Comments
27Apr/04Off

Drobbins Has Left The Building

It's a little hard to believe but Daniel Robbins has resigned from Gentoo. Normally a developer leaving a free software project isn't huge news but in many ways Daniel is the soul of Gentoo. His reasons aer understandable and maybe even inevitable but the news is sad nonetheless. His announcement and the reasoning behind it have all been linked to death in other places with the usual amount of clueless and sometimes mean speculation. Gentoo is transitioning towards a real non-profit with an appointed board initially which drobbins will not be a part of at least for the time being.

I've only interacted with Daniel on the IRC channel for Gentoo briefly but the man exhibits incredible patience given that it was two in the morning and my questions ended up being kind of brain dead. I've been following some of the Gentoo forums to try to gauge the reactions of people who actually use Gentoo and everyone else seems equally upset and sad about his departure. I personally hope that this is a temporary measure (at least his continuing debt for the sake of establishing the NFP) and enough people will throw down some couch change to help eliminate his debt so he can come back in an advisory capacity at very least.

Filed under: General No Comments
26Apr/04Off

Gambler Reference Deleted

Unfortunately, KillHUP has decided to call it quits after two years. The reasons are understandable and even admirable -- realizing that you don't have the time or energy to do the sort of job that you think a site requires and calling it a day. As kinda sad as it may be, I'm glad that they decided to drop out now honestly instead of simply letting the site fall into decay. There is a static version of the site holding its place with all of the Slashcode torn out.

Thank you Scott for a couple of great years and for having the integrity to check when it was time to check out. I wish others the same degree of clarity.

Filed under: General No Comments
26Apr/04Off

Defining Friends As ‘Un-Stupid’

As much a confession of utter geekiness as this may be, I really enjoyed reading the account of Dan Bricklin painstakingly thinking about what license to use based on the idea that it would be developed for a small software company. It's nice to see people considering where-is-food-and-rent-coming-from questions against some of the benefits of Open Source (I capitalized that because I mean it in the sense that the OSI defines it) instead of simply embarking on some proprietary lock in strategy that begins the shit slide straight to obscurity with nothing but a couple cases of promotional t-shirts and CDs/coasters to show for your efforts. I encourage you to go take a look at it. I don't agree with parts and I'm not ever sure I like the idea of more license fragmentation but you have to admire the amount of careful thought put into the process.

The side I'm on (I would but 'irony' tags here if I didn't respect you so much) is rapidly becoming less about throwing the words 'open' or 'free' around and more about doing things that are contrary to dirt stupid. Go team.

Filed under: General No Comments
24Apr/04Off

Bookmark The Insane, Pay Visits To The Dead

It seems like I have at least one conversation a day that begins with a question or wish out loud about a piece of software that would come in particularly handy and is terminated by a Google search to jar my memory about some software that would fit the request perfectly. I usually have a fair amount of luck with this because I find out about projects in beta or pre stage when a good deal of the functionality is missing but enough is finished to give me a pretty good idea of what the final product (or 1.0) might be like and completely forget about them again until I think about them in this context. That usually means that they're a thousand times more usable than my first look or the project is entirely dead. The downside of this is that it's an unpleasant reminder that places like Source Forge are slowly becoming the new GeoCities of the web complete with obscure masses of dying and mummified projects slumbering eternally in pre-Alpha.

The answer that I came up with today was Ghostzilla the embeddable version of Mozilla that you can run on the down low in the main window of Windows applications and conceal quickly with mouse gestures much like the "boss button" of share ware games of the not-so-distant past. It isn't an application that's incredibly useful for me since I don't have a Windows machine at the moment and I look at the Web pretty much whenever I want/need to at work but I've always thought that GZ was a nice implementation of good and slightly subversive idea. The former (and I believe sole) maintainer of it has apparently decided that it was a terrible idea and might destroy the whole world or something equally melodramatic. This is a bummer because 1)Good ideas in development are rare 2) Good ideas seem to rarely get further than a planning stage 3) apparently reading Michael Crichton books will make you lose your mind:

The program's author realizes that, for what it's worth, it's irresponsible to leave Ghostzilla in the open. So the free version has been removed from this site, and the CD version is not for sale anymore. It's a tech person's form of recycling: do what little we can, and everyone will be better off.

And meanwhile we'll feel better if we don't have to pretend and hide.

That bit of flaky and I'll-be-damned-if-I'm-playing-God reasoning has killed work on Ghostzilla for the moment. Luckily for those folks who are stuck in internet connected salt mines Ghostzilla is going be released open source so someone else can take the rap for all of the goofing off and shirking in offices that began with the release of Ghostzilla and subsided quickly when the application was made unavailable.The Bugzilla for the project will deliver daily affirmations and counseling referrals as well as tracking bugs and revisions. My condolences to micro-managing control freaks everywhere at least until we get the official OK to seal all of the uncontrolled M.B.A population into a rocket ship and shoot them into permanent orbit.

Filed under: General No Comments
23Apr/04Off

Not Exactly A Sucker Punch




For some stupid reason I thought this typo was pretty funny and telling of how Forbes usually reports on technology. Yeah, I know 'typo' which I am more than capable of outperforming most major outlets on many day of the week. In any case, here is a more substantial instance of sloppiness from the article that the above came from. Their version of Red Hat lineage doesn't exactly square up with the history that most of remember from being around when it happened:

When Szulik arrived at Red Hat in 1998 after stints at Interleaf and MapInfo, its revenue came from retail sales of a shrink-wrapped Linux OS and follow-on monthly fees for bug fixes. The code was free to download, but it was too unstable for customers wanting hassle-free systems. Users were devout techies, many of whom paid for one machine's support while copying the OS on hundreds of others. Red Hat engineers, mostly young diehards, were okay with the sloppy business model.

This is partially right but still a very shallow analysis. What I think killed the boxed Red Hat more than anything else is the escalation of the version numbering wars. I owned a copy of RH 6.0 and it was amazingly buggy and poorly put together. The 7.0 gcc snafu was even more damaging. Was it due to a lack of warnings about the state of gcc development? Not really. The push for new releases and blatant disregard for 'reference' versions:

"I want people to be prepared to ship new and innovative things," Cox wrote in the discussion, "If everyone complains about not shipping precise reference kernels, then all of a sudden for [kernel] 2.2 I become some anointed high power for approval for vendors--that is something I don't wish to be and which would be very, very bad for Linux. Do you really want a world where you cannot buy a distribution with 2.2 that has Reiserfs because Alan Cox refused to merge it with the mainstream?"

when they weren't sexy enough unless, of course, it was the LSB. I have a feeling that someone way more knowledgeable about this is going to knock me for a loop but that's my take on it. Don't ship a distribution with a broken version of gcc. Just don't. It just doesn't jibe with the Forbes version of the argument where everyone is all bummed at RH for making money. They fail to grasp that part of building things through a community of developers often results in people expressing opinions that aren't swiped from the Motley Fool and based on real life experience. Imagine that shit.

Filed under: General No Comments
22Apr/04Off

Eat Guerilla Networks Marketing Scum

I heard a little bit about Operation Fastlink (nice name btw that makes me wonder if the FBI has been tapping the mulch pile in waiting of early 90's cyberFutureE books or something) on NPR today while Yoon and I were on our way to looking at houses. I guess today must have been the big announcement because I'd heard nothing about before today. Granted cracking down on warez groups is a little early 1990's in itself given that peer to peer stuff dominates everything other than the top ten list part of file sharing but the timing is somewhat ironic for me.

I just snagged a copy of the Dawn of the Dead remake a couple days ago via BitTorrent. This is the first time that I've bothered hoisting the Jolly Roger in a very long time. In fact if the DVD release wasn't delayed to capitalize on the theater returns I would just go out and buy the 'official' DVD. I've already seen the movie on the big screen so I don't savor the idea of throwing down another close to ten bucks for a second viewing. Shit. I know I'll buy the official when it comes out but I've got a shitty copy to enjoy until then. Lesson: If you depend on consumers to buy things that you produce you might try actually providing a supply for the demand instead of trying to control it. I guess somebody has to feed the lawyers...

Filed under: General No Comments
19Apr/04Off

Five Steps To Self Improvement

It must be a slow news week because every news site out there is picking up the most recent Langa letter article and waving it around like it means something. Mixers are muted by default. Repeat this mantra until it sinks into your tiny but surprisingly dense skulls.If you've ever installed a distribution that doesn't stick to this sensible default behavior the KDE start up sound that will reverberate in your ears for the better part of a week will make you understand the plan. If no sound comes out when you turn on the television do you send the fucker out for repair? No, you try turning up the volume.

Step 1. fire up an xterm.
Step 2. type 'aumix'
Step 3. uncheck 'mute' box and turn up appropriate channels.
Step 4. admit defeat. secretly deposit fat check into shill account.
Step 5. drink rat poison.

Filed under: General No Comments
18Apr/04Off

Another Batch Of Chitmarks

I'm watching the site break again due to my inactivity and incessant refreshing of job search sites and I noticed that very soon Team Murder will hit the two year mark. How fitting that it passes during one of my worst slumps for inspiration over the past few years. Typical.

I'm also getting hundreds of bounced mails from some spammer fuck that decided to spoof mails from this domain. It's annoying because, as I mentioned, I'm looking for a job so I can't be as cavalier about filtering mail. There is nothing more annoying than running searches through a 'Deleted' mail folder that has thousands of pieces of unread mail. Petty revenge is, of course, forthcoming as a quick nmap scan of the machine responsible for all of this mess has many, many ports flapping in the breeze. The whole thing just seems like a honeypot. Now that would be an interesting premise for a research project: antagonize people with little patience using a honeypot server as the source IP address then wait for the bombs to start falling. Grrr.

I found this quick and dirty intro to CVS that is probably old news to most people but I hadn't seen it before and I think it's well done. CVS isn't exactly intuitive until you're accustomed to its quirks.

I've also seen a fair amount of people bad mouth this proposed piece of legislation but I think its a fabulous idea. The gist of it is that companies who crap flood your physical mailbox with CDs would be required to include postage paid return envelope with all of those mailings. This is the only way I can think of to force AOL not to send me fifteen CDs a month. Not only do I not want them but even if I did want to magically transport myself back to the internet of 1991 I could not run the software on my operating system. There is absolutely no good reason for me to receive my weekly CD that will be promptly pitched in the trash. If AOL was forced to have some kind of responsibility for pumping a gazillion CDs directly into landfills they might be a little more selective about who they send CDs to. The problem now is that it is impossible to have yourself removed from the mailing lists. I've actually tried in the past only to have a supervisor basically sneer at me. If it sinks the ship it sinks the ship. Good riddance.

Filed under: General No Comments
15Apr/04Off

Platypus + Templates + IntarWeb = Hysteria Or At Least Mildly Annoying Confusion

My bank's web site was down for most of the day and I only had access via the phone. I guess I could've stopped by an actual branch of the bank but then again if I wanted to start a fire I could theoretically do that with a bow and drill combination. Anyway I found a charge for $9.95 on my credit card that I couldn't remember making and thought I was the newest member of this fucking scam after reading about it on Mark Pilgrim's site. It turns out that I have a terrible memory and bought a pound of coffee yesterday. The combination of the numerous reports of people being scammed out the exact same dollar amount and the bank web site being dead (even to pings) all day long. Of course, I could've just called the robo-operator system and eventually had a conversation with a real live human but I'm a geek so I ping.

Oh, and if you're a PHB submitting a job listing to a headhunter-ish site don't list decade long experience requirements for technologies that have only existed for five years. 10-12 years of XML experience. Sigh. Maybe they were thinking of SGML...

Yeah, so... go check out The World's Tallest Virtual Building and maybe go kill some Peeps. I'm going to bed and admitting defeat.

Filed under: General No Comments
14Apr/04Off

Unfortunately No One Was Injured

I had my first run in with Netsky at work today. I messed around with it for awhile before I realized that there's a removal tool readily available. I think the machine we found it on had been through a couple of different iterations and there were something like 2600 infected files. I basically wasted a day cleaning it from a single machine. I did notice that it wormed its way into the WINNT/assembly folder which kind of impressed me since that isn't exactly a directory full of directories.

I've read a lot of hype and babbling about A9 today. I'm not sure why anyone really cares. It's another meta search site and not particularly handy at that. Clickety click.

I also found out today that my boss and I are applying for some of the same jobs. Guess I'll change the references on my resume, eh? Lame. There just aren't that many desktop support jobs in the downtown area. I hate hate hate it when things begin to look ugly. That and the barbaric practice of writing cover letters which are a contender for the worst waste of paper and human imagination that I can think of.

Dear Soulless HR Fuckwit
I would like work here. I have some skills. Here is a ridiculous exaggeration of those skills and some other stuff I decided to make up to impress you.

Hang in there,

goneaway

Hint: Don't use the above as a template.

Filed under: General No Comments
13Apr/04Off

Ease Of Procrastination

I finally did my taxes tonight which puts me a whole day or two ahead of most of the country. The funny part is that I waited until all but the last minute to file electronically. Procrastination was never so easy.

Filed under: General No Comments
12Apr/04Off

List Continued From Sticky Note

I keep a list usually on the ultra flaky medium of a sticky note of my wish list. This is usually software related and usually a malfunctioning feature or the like. I've been accumulating them for a while and, of course, lost the sticky note. That means a little publicly posted thinking which you or may not want to read.

1. Development based Linux distributions.
I've been thinking about this one for awhile and during that time there have been several attempts to construct things sort of like this but none fit the specifications that I'd need. Zopix is a good start towards distributions like this although it is a live CD primarily and concentrates on Zope development. What I'm thinking about would more likely than not be a fork of an established distribution where the focus of bug squishing would be focused on a particular environment and making sure that all of the components/modules of a particular programming environment would work smoothly together without breaking any other parts. Working with Python on numerous distributions has been a headache when dealing with libraries that suicide bomb other libraries leading to an irreversible mess that is more quickly resolved with a reinstall than counter measures.

2. Meta packages that don't do the same thing fifty times.
If you use Debian or Gentoo you'll understand what I'm talking about almost immediately. If not: a meta package is a wrapper of sorts around a group of related packages that taste great together. KDE is full of them on almost every distribution. What baffles me about these collections is that they never reuse information within the package. Compiling a meta package that involves Qt can be incredibly frustrating. Watching irretrievable minutes of your life ebb away as a couple of dozen packages do the same search for the same libraries at the same crawling pace is not what meta packaging should be about. Although I'm admittedly ignorant about the mechanics of putting together these patches you'd think that it would be moderately easy to create temporary configuration files in the directory that you're compiling in. Maybe I'm wrong but those extra minutes, man...

3. Sites that refuse to cooperate with tabbed browsers.
BlogLines is the one that I'm thinking of. Unfortunately, the frame set model is pretty borked when you're using a modern browser. Using a tool that allows you to track numerous feeds but doesn't allow you to open subscribed feeds in another tab seems pretty pointless. This is made worse by the fact that clicking on a new feed clobbers the old one and there is no back button to escape from this forced linearity. Even an "open feed in new window" button would be better. Yeesh.
Update/Clarification
I realize now as I'm reading back over this entry that I didn't do a very good job of explaining what I meant and Mark Fletcher from Bloglines actually posted a comment attached to this entry asking for clarification. So: what doesn't work with tabs in Bloglines is multiple instances of the main content window. You cannot open multiple instances of the lists of aggregated content and moving from one to the next marks the contents of the first set to be marked read. I'd love it if it was possible to open the contents linked on the right side column to new tabs. Is it the end of the world? Not really but what drives me absolutely crazy are things that are close to perfection.

Hey. It was a sticky note....

Filed under: General 2 Comments
12Apr/04Off

Before You Roll It Up And Smoke It, Look It Over

I just finished a paper that I've spent the better part of three days driving myself crazy working on and I'm not feeling any better about it. That's completely obvious, I realize, but it made me come to an even more important conclusion: The reason that working full time and going to school full time while still trying to do all of the other stuff that makes up your life after you pass the age of say twenty five is making me so crazy. It's not just exhaustion. It's the fact that I'm completely anal retentive about trying to do things well. I can't put as much effort into anything right now and I haven't been able to for the last couple of years. Eventually I will lose my shit and come after my oppressors...

The title comes from a suggestion that one of my favorite professors gave while handing back graded papers.

Filed under: General No Comments
11Apr/04Off

Time For A Little Something

Wow. I'd nearly forgotten that the site will eat itself if I post nothing for weeks at a time. I'm still trying to push through the last major papers of the semester in hopes that staying focused will kill my instinct to cut and run while I still have some energy left. I'm still tentatively job searching which mainly means trawling the usual tech job banks that are looking a good deal less promising than five or so years ago. It does score a lot of spam though so I guess I can't say that nothing has come from my admittedly anemic efforts thus far. I'm trying to ignore the automated responses that I've got so far because a dollar more an hour than I'm making now is sounding pretty good. More Melville is not sounding so good right now.

I added some bonus crap to the right hand side. I've been using Bloglines for a little while not mainly because it saves the trouble of continually moving subscription lists between installations of Straw and occasionally being stuck on Windows or OS X boxes with nothing so luxurious installed. So, I finally added a subscription button to the link bar for my own convenience as much as anything. The RocketInfo button was a little more random. I don't actually use RocketInfo and only found out about it after reading an article at Orange Crate. The review was generally pretty positive so I'll have to take it for a test drive when I have a little more free time to waste on things that are supposed to save time. The interface looks very similar to Bloglines so I don't imagine there's any really learning curve or adjustment necessary to switch between one and the other. It has the same search functionality built in that Bloglines has (something I frequently abuse) so there aren't any functional elements missing at least as far as I can see. Take that with the necessary grains of salt because all I've done is look at the pretty pictures.

jwz has been referencing a recently linked images from LiveJournal feed to fuel the monstrosity that is Web Collage. It's a pretty interesting bunch of images although the recurring face-directly-in-webcam buddy shots, fresh litters of kittens, and, god help us, TubGirl (don't click there, please) shots get tiresome after a couple of iterations. A couple other people made use in their own ways: one guy has a Flash version that renders very oddly for me and there's also a last 30 images page that you'll have to manually refresh. I get the same effect on the LAN at work sometimes while running Driftnet. I can never run it for too long without porn ending up in the mix though. I didn't realize until I checked the Driftnet page for the first time in centuries that you could tie it with Web Collage in a screensaver of sorts. Again, porn would make that prohibitive for me at least at work.

I don't know that I'd exactly have a use for GruntSpud but the name certainly cracked me up.

Filed under: General No Comments
8Apr/04Off

Pass Out. Pass It On.

In the browsing before I pass out portion of the evening I read Matt Haughey's post on Beatallica (which I guess is old news in other quadrants of the IntarWeb) and had to check it out. It's pretty fucking brilliant for a quickly recorded jokey thing. The intro to "Blackened In the USSR" alone had me completely convulsed with laughter for the duration.

There is something very cool about this sort of stuff that distinguishes it from the Jay-Z remix phenomenon and that is the genuine fandom exhibited in this project. If you're not at least partially familiar with either the Beatles or older Metallica you aren't going to think these songs are nearly as funny. The stitching together of music is probably the best part. The fusion of Metallica's "Enter Sandman" and the Beatles' "Taxman" really has to be heard rather than described.

Filed under: General No Comments
8Apr/04Off

No Money. No Time. No. No. No.

So, dropping out of school for the sake of work and sanity might just be the best decision that I've made lately. Despite the fact that I've got a good solid decade on most of my fellow college students, I'm really stuck on the admittedly naive but trenchant maxim that doing one or two things to the best of my often meager abilities is a lot better for me and the people who have to put up with me than doing more things than I can keep track of with an aptitude perpetually dry humping the cold and bony leg of absolute zero. Of course, it's even more insulting (to which party it's up to you to decide) to continually try to limit that exertion to what you think the product of the 20 year old black clothing and pointy object aficionado sitting across from you in order to avoiding wasting that smidge of free radical mediocrity that you might insipidly apply to some other class. At this point I'm broke and exhausted enough to really want to leave a smoldering ruin behind me.

Luckily, my familiarity with a slightly different bucket of shit will probably be my saving grace. I've been haunted by the lifestyle equation lately: No money and lots of time. No time but some money. Either of these conditions are tolerable but the combination of both wears you down after a couple of years. The bucket of shit will always wait patiently for you.

Filed under: General No Comments
5Apr/04Off

Staggering Bedwards

I've been absent from here for good reason for a change and actually trying to keep on top of school work which has been especially abusive for the past month or so. I've pretty much had either a major paper or project due twice a week for nearly a month. Doesn't allow for much more than school, work, and band stuff. There isn't nearly enough sleep in that equation but I guess some things will always remain constant.

We played our last show with Matt on Saturday. It's always a little strange to part ways with band members on good terms. I'm pretty accustomed to horrible screaming matches and subsequent bad feelings. It's almost anti-climactic to just stop playing music with someone. Bands and relationships share so many parallels. The show was a lot of fun and White Dynamite was totally amazing. Still it was a little sad to end a two plus year understanding. I guess now it's time to get to work.

Just noticed that OS News got a facelift. It's nearly impossible for me to even guess how old that news is since I read the site with an aggregator but it does look a lot nicer even if the interface is potentially more cumbersome. Can't say much for the troll population because it looks as high as ever. Whatev.

Looks like DistroWatch is the newest to be booted from AdSense for reasons I can't even begin to understand. The whole story is in the DistroWatch Weekly News. Again, another reminder that Google is just a fucking business and not our savior or the gestalt repository of human memory. Even if you don't necessarily commit evil it still doesn't pay to annoy the fuck out of people. Of course, even if you're annoying as shit there is a chance to redeem yourself even though you've been hated and despised by users for years. Blatant PR work but beats nothing, I guess.

An interesting take on remote desktop access which comes in handy when you're stuck on a Windows box and need to get real work done. I've long since convinced my workplace that just letting me have a Linux box at work is a whole lot easier than listening to me bitch and whine all the time but I remember those grim days.

Ok. Nap time for the tired guy.

Filed under: General No Comments
1Apr/04Off

Your Irony Quota Has Been Met. Please Log Off And Try Something Else.

The thing is about being all too aware of this stupid and mostly annoying day is that sometimes Google really does decide to announce something useful and necessary (as opposed to a lunar annex) on the worst possible day to announce anything on the web that isn't cheese sandwich related. Idiots like me initially misread Gmail as some Gtk+ based competitor to Kmail and wondered what the hell Google had to do with any of the bad naming convention circus. Which, really, is the more lame of the mistakes?

After too many years of Slashdot running furiously in a creaky, dusty April Fools habitrail that ultimately fails to amuse anyone or go anywhere new, the only humor left in the day (at least on the IntarWeb) is reality and the suspicious reactions to it. I'm glad that Doc is more amused than embarrassed.

Filed under: General No Comments
1Apr/04Off

Horses Dying Under The Lash

After sifting through the results of a Google search today that unfortunately involved the term 'weblog' I was completely startled by how many clients there are. I'm not talking about the even more numerous aggregators and flashy-blinkies -- I'm just talking about tools that lurk on your local machine (mostly) and take care of many of the formatting and posting duties that many find so onerous. There really are a lot of them.

Thinking about it sparked my curiosity about a few of them that I'd tried out and didn't stick with after the novelty wore off or because some essential piece didn't work. I thought this was the case with BloGTK but I was being completely stupid and pointing it not at the XML-RPC script but at the main script. Somehow this did not penetrate my thick skull until this afternoon. In my defense a tooltip when you mouse over the URL field is the only clue that you get which is exactly what finally tipped me off. I earned myself a hefty stack of duh points in the process but I'm glad I finally got around to playing with some of these tools.

Since I mistakenly thought (and probably posted about) that BloGTK was broken I should probably mess with it first. The interface looks like this:


and it basically does what it is supposed to with the added bonus of spell checking. It's a pretty lightweight piece of software but still allows you to preview your entry. It'll also do alignments and anchors for you as well as bold, italic, and whatnot tags.

I also looked at Chronicle Lite tonight and, despite its foundation in Java, it does what it is supposed to -- simple enough for the endiest of end users and still gives the power user who needs customization some breathing space. It looks like this:


which isn't the prettiest thing in the world but I guess those are the sacrifices you make for platform agnostic portability. Yup. Windows/Linux/*nix/Macintosh all for the price of an enormous and resource hungry virtual machine. It does have a whole lotta controls though if you're willing to dig into them including stuff to do tables and edit your templates from within the application. Again, possible incompetence alert here but I couldn't get some of the features to work like the table editor. There is in all likelihood something very obvious that I'm missing here so please take my notes as notes and not as some kind of critical review. Chronicle Lite also has a plugin structure so more functionality is going to be built in. If you're reminded a little bit of Eclipse then you're not alone. I started making mental comparisons of the structure of the two from the moment I first launched it.

Filed under: General No Comments