Rule one for survival of sanity: Do not update things that you suspect might break simply to see what happens. Sometimes spinning the rusty razor blades and ten days past sell by date buttermilk wheel of luck just isn't worth it. In fact, it's seldom worth it. I should break my own pinky finger just as a reminder. Maybe.
I overheard some of the RNC. How many times do you need to repeat the phrase "September 11th attacks" before people will glaze over en masse and vote for "Shut the fuck up you coffin preaching piece of shit?" I have no idea so you'll have to ask that owl with the thing for suckers. Still, I'd love to see the official count of mentions that I'm sure will be noted by someone with a higher tolerance for crappy crap.
Patience. By the way, as you may have noticed, I'm trying to singlehandedly bring the strike tag to the prominence it richly deserves. No matter how obvious it might be, until the sarcasm tag clears the W3C it's either this or peeing Calvin. If I spent the time optimizing the images...
Although the discussion thread has taken some pretty ugly and venomous turns, I'm a little surprised at how reasonably most folks on the kernel list have taken request to remove the pwc driver from the kernel. Granted, this is little consolation for folks using Phillips Webcams but it's nice to see Linus in make the hothead developers play nice mode again.
Even though I'm pretty sure that Linspire will eventually be smothered under the weight of their own bullshit I do admire the persistence of their innovate by rebranding strategy. The latest
steaming pile hot new item, as detailed in the press release. At least they're not directly claiming some kind of business relationship with AOL if only because that didn't work out so well the first time. Of course, you can't expect news services to actually read press releases so any of number of headlines are going to appear that create that relationship for them while the disclaimers on the actual product page protects them from legal entanglement. Pretty slick, no? The part that you don't really get out of all of this is that people using Linux have actually been able to connect to AOL servers for quite some time and there is at least one existing piece of software that will allow you to do just that without enduring any Flash animations of Michael Robertson milking a penguin or whatever. The more important point, probably, is that you already need an existing AOL account in order to use either piece of software.
In Slashdotian terms:
1. Repackage old ideas and market the bejesus out of them
2. Rely on press release regurgitation to imply some sort of official relationship.
4. Profit! (or not)
It was only a matter of time before something like Blogversations happened and I'm really more inclined to shrug my shoulders about it than anything else. Hell, I even registered in case anyone was willing to pay me to flippantly call something that took years and millions of dollars to create a steaming pile of shit. I've always thought that if a nameless corporate entity wanted to sponsor the existence of Team Murder I would be more than happy to rifle through their couch cushions for hosting costs and whatnot. Jesus, I fix broken Windows machines for a living. I can talk shit all day but I'm a little reluctant to pimp. Maybe it's time to start a
multimedia virtual reality social networking weblogging software company so I can profit richly on the next big thing or maybe stock options that are totally going to make me rich, dude emergence of a brand new doodad. Yeah, that's it. I haven't seen much more than skepticism so far because, of course, most people are smart enough to realize that this scheme will rapidly sink into a tar pit at its earlier convenience if any sort of *turfing is detected in relation to it.
Speaking of vapor-money, does anyone have a clue about whether or not this rumor about the grafting together of Adsense and Blogger is anything more than ass refactoring? Never mind. I'm an idiot who hates editing because immediately after I wrote that sentence I did a crazy, crazy thing and checked the source of aforementioned rumor and instead found a detailed announcement. It figures. I don't see any real controversy there simply because it's more fair than anything else.
The intarweb is supposed to fall down and go boom tomorrow. I hope so. I could use a couple of days to catch up.
Two days into the new school year and I'm already exhausted and threatened with a reading load that makes me chuckle when I think about actually trying to keep up with. It's going to be a very long semester.
I haven't had much opportunity or need to use the laptop so I don't have a real solid opinion about Vidalinux. You do have to run fixpackages on portage to sort out the tree and make things ungradeable. Again, not sure if that's a good thing for folks unfamiliar with Gentoo to have to do. It isn't the fastest thing in the world either. It isn't a fatal problem but would probably require a fair amount of hunting up for users unversed in the ways of Gentoo.
Email from the help desk: He has a "Customized" version of Internet Explorer on his PC and I can't replace it. If only there were awards given out for the most efficient use of euphemism...
I found myself once again looking longingly at the long abandoned KPHPDevelop and wishing that someone (read: someone with more time than me) would pick up its development again. I've been doing a lot of work in lately and I really want a less/more development environment. I love Quanta to death but it seems a little too generalized and concerned with overall web development tasks. gPHPEdit is specialized but doesn't really do a whole lot that emacs doesn't with a couple of extras strapped on. I'll probably just keep using Quanta but I'm looking. Any advice?
We played a house show on Friday night. It was fun until we stopped playing and then the realization that we were out of beer and unable to buy any more beer that night while being surrounded by drunken 23 year olds sunk in. One of the nice folks that lives at the house took some pictures and was nice enough to send a link to the gallery. You'll get the idea.The only one that I'm happy with is the weird one of Jose straddling the moat. We didn't load out until like two in the morning so we were even more cranky than usual and disgustingly sober. If we look a little lost... We're also waaaay too loud for a room that size. People cleared out pretty quickly.
I've kind of felt like shit for the past couple of days. I think it's the cumulative sleep deprivation catching up with me. Classes start tomorrow so this feeling is an excellent warm up for the slow burn of the next three months. Argh.
So, Rob Enderle posted a response to Joe Barr's open letter to him. Talking smack about Enderle is sort of unfair; it's a bit like making fun of Dan Quayle or something. The most notable thing about Enderle's response is the constant effort to connect Barr with "hate." Notice how many times he drags that out yet still manages to completely avoid addressing any of the issues that Barr brought up. As clueless as Enderle is in the technical sense you've really got to appreciate his amazing grasp of weasel speak and selective memory. The most comical thing is that he manages to sound personally injured.
I'm giving the new version of Vidalinux, a sort of more friendly version of Gentoo, another whirl on my laptop. The second beta is a vast improvement on what amounted to a time consuming, somewhat interesting, and ultimately fruitless attempt to install the first beta. The first version is lacking in PCMCIA support so I scrapped it very quickly. I assume that it would be possible to get the first version up and running with a fair amount of burning source packages to CD and whatnot but that seems kind of contrary to the intent of the distribution. It was a lot smoother this time around with the exception of having to install my own pppoe software in order to get networking up and running. Rp-pppoe is a pretty small package and would probably be a worthy inclusion given the huge amount of eyecandy-ish packages included.
All of that said, for the second beta I think they're doing an excellent job. Nearly all of the show stopper problems that I had with the first beta have been fixed and the installation while painfully long on a slower machine and ultimately unconfigurable during the install seems like it's shaping up quickly. I didn't see any obvious snags during the install that would matter to the average user. The lack of detailed information about what the installer is actually doing drove me crazy but that is a cranky personal preference and is probably beneficial for most folks.
Having a source based distribution (albeit one that was installed with a lot of precompiled packages) is making me a lot more conservative about what I install although the package included are a pretty solid start. I'm not crazy about the focus on Gnome but that has more to do with a general phobia of desktop environments more than anything else. It was a trivial 20 minute aside to get Fluxbox and Ion installed and configured for a lighter environment more suited for this tired old man of a machine. Emacs took a little longer but given the amount of use it gets was worth the install time. Apache and PHP are definitely going to be more painful but I'll set those up to install before bed. It's really nice just to have a functional system as a base to work from with a pretty minimal amount of time spent on the initial install. Gentoo proper really doesn't have an installer per se so it's difficult to just walk away from it and return to a working system. That, more than any of the other difficulties encountered installing on a machine as old as this laptop, is really what prevented me from making all of my computers Gentoo-based.
I imagine that in eventuality Vidalinux will have the same relationship with Gentoo as Libranet has to Debian. There are still some bugs and sticky spots that need to be smoothed out and I'm utterly unconvinced that Open Office is the right choice for a default and unconfigurable install (it was one of the first things that I uninstalled) but Vida is still way ahead of most Gentoo implementations that I've seen so far. Like anything else based on a more popular and well known distribution as long as they stay in sync with the Gentoo tree Vida could really pick up a lot of users over time. I'm not sure what the current Gentoo install is looking like since the last time I had to actually start from scratch was Christmas break of last year but the implementation of anaconda along with the hardware detection is already pretty far ahead of the actual Gentoo installation process. I'd much rather go through that lengthy and sometimes tedious process when I have the time and CPU cycles if only because I get the exact machine that I want without fighting with the package management system. The unfortunate part is that time doesn't always run on a Christmas break table so Vida will more than likely come in very handy if I actually break a desktop install.
If I find any other major problems in the next couple of days I might tack it onto the end of this. Until then I'm going to try to get a little shut eye.
I'm all caught up with mail that went unanswered while Yoon and I were on vacation. It's a bit longer than I usually like to let anything sit unanswered but there were too many other things going on so whatevs. Anything sent to me that landed successfully in my sweaty little paws has already been answered. The not-so good part about this is that if you sent me some mail between the 5th and the 10th and haven't heard back then I didn't get your mail. Please send it again. Unfortunately I get a fair amount of legitimate mail a day entombed in a shit ton of spam. I did not have the patience to sort through thousands of pieces of spam to fish out the real mail this time around so hopefully you're feeling as generous as I was lazy. Again, my apologies.
Some interesting things that I've run into today:
All of us preach the gospel of not using Internet Explorer to anyone who will listen but sites like Stop IE are great tools in that battle. This is personal for me since I have to support IE on a daily basis and at times justify its shortcomings and security problems to users. I like having all of the reasons that switching is a good idea laid out in a nice cohesive form with a short list of good reasons to switch with explicit explanations listed as well. Friends tend not to take the warning too seriously because, of course, I'm the Linux guy and I'm always talking crazy bullshit. This goes both ways, though, and no matter how often I beg friends not to put any of my functional email addresses in their Outlook address book I get shit flooded every time a new virus comes down the pipe. I'd love to see an equivalent site for Outlook and all of its bastard children. I'm going to experiment with Evolution Connector for Yoon's Exchange mailbox in the near future. I'm kind of curious how it will work out since I'm a little skeptical of interop with a company that considers standards things that must be co-opted and owned. I'll post something about when that day arrives. That should be surrounded with "don't hold your breath, sailor" tags or something.
I bookmarked Kozoru a little while ago and cannot remember for the life of me where I initially heard about it. The explanation of what they're trying to do is pretty ambitious and also vague. If I had a stock option for every time I'm read press fodder claiming that some high concept vaporware is going to rock the world of **insert hot, hot, hot industry buzzword here*** I'd be a wealthy man on paper. The idea of building a search platform is also worrisome because that word 'platform' is shorthand for 'lock in' for the most part. They do advertise the use of OS X and BSD so there's obviously some antipathy towards MegaSoft there. I'm more of a believer in searching within results and narrowing piles of information the way I think it should be sorted but, hey, everyone thinks they know what you need. Do you need this? I'm not sure that reinventing the wheel is particularly innovative at this point and user oriented development generally implies a very tight integration of cluster with fuck. All of that is probably more mean than it needs to be but given the bubble-like hype over the Google IPO the word "search" will soon become very annoying.
I've been reading furiously over the past couple of days and have felt less inclined than ever to spend very much time in front of this machine. I chewed through a whole rackful of cheesy science fiction and picked up a copy of Vollman's The Atlas which is pretty bite sized but satisfying nonetheless. What is sort of alarming about this unexplicable u-turn in my free time behavior is that I used to read at this pace all the time. I need to unplug more often and read things that do not contain the words "Python" or "PHP" or the phrase "in a nutshell." That contributes to my absence from here and this is probably a good thing.
My sound track all day has been The Bronx which is rumored to have some sketchy major label connections but I downloaded the whole fucking thing so my issue is with the music. Despite a couple of groaners when they load the songs down with a few too many stupid guitar tricks this record will remove paint from the walls if played at the appropriate volume. They have a couple of download-able songs at their site but I just grabbed the whole burrito the usual way. Normally I'd feel some pangs of guilt about this but dealing with the Ferret Records guy while I worked at Punks With Presses killed any sympathy I might have. Let's put it this way: 1. Rush order for something that isn't easy to print even at a more relaxed pace. 2. Print shitty stickers and rush them to the airport UPS so touring baseball cap band can toss them out to hormonal twelve year olds with Xes markered on the backs of their hands. 3. Listen to fucker from record label whine and complain and subsequently threaten us with his 'industry contacts.' Sorry, no twelve bucks from me. Thank you for your headache payment. When I die ten years earlier than intended for all of the worry I wasted on punk rock 7" covers you can chuckle heartily at my expense. Yeah, I know, grudges are silly but can justify nearly anything. Fuck it.
Elaine has a photo of the fucked up storm clouds that delayed our landing at DIA earlier this week. I'm glad that they looked impressive from the ground because the lightning bowl from the sky was not nearly as ominous looking.
There is a part of me that very much wants to write some incredibly verbose and detailed account of my last five days which were spent in San Francisco with Yoon and two of my oldest and dearest friends. That would be a wonderful thing for me to pull up six or so months from now but it wouldn't make terribly interesting reading for anyone else. I know that violates about two dozen of the most solemn weblogging edicts but I'm sure you know a hundred or so places to go if you need some cheese sandwich news or whatever.
I arrived in SF after our bitter break up six years ago with a lot of preconceptions about what was going to be waiting for me. I was about ninety percent wrong about most of it especially about people I'd known. They're still kooks. The Mission District has changed so much since I lived there (and I lived there for the better part of six years in the early 1990's) that many parts of it are almost unrecognizable. Food is a lot more expensive than I ever imagined that it would be and most of the places that were worth eating at are either gone or replaced with any number of new Thai or Indian-Pakistani restaurants. This isn't necessarily a bad thing per se but it was strange especially the proliferation of Indian-Pakistani restaurants given the antipathy between the two cultures. El Farolito is eternal, of course, so I wasn't disappointed in that regard. The absence of New Dawn (which I knew about since it closed a long time before I moved away) is always heartbreaking though not necessarily for the eating as much as the illegal smoking, haircuts, pictures of Sausalito drag queens from the 1950's, and the other experiences I've had hanging out there in the past. Hanging out in the past is kind of the theme here in case you're not reading any of these words.
The elation and disappointment inherent to seeking food in a city that you once tirelessly trawled that you're now a well educated tourist in is pretty self explanatory. I did, however, learn a few things about old friends. I have a lot of theories about how people change over time, more specifically related to punk rock and its associated sub genres and how people move from one to another over the course of time. I'd thought a little while Yoon and I walked around the Mission about the difference between people I know slowly growing and progressing continually and those who seem to switch suddenly, jarringly, and erratically. I'm definitely of the former group with little changes going on in my thinking and how I present myself happening over the course of time. Most people are able to recognize me after four or five years without trouble. Others veer crazily from one set of "beliefs" (sneer quotes because I have a hard time buying the six week conviction cycle) to another and align those changes directly with different modes of dress. I held on to that simplification because it was simpler than trying to pry my way into the beady little heads of a hundred or so fucked up punk rock kids while they wrestled with their twenties, their fucked up childhoods, and their disbelief in any sort of meaningful future. That era of human life is rich with stupid fucking mistakes made with full knowledge of possible consequences and whatnot. It was easier to worry about hair and clothes then. I think the fixation that many people my age or older have with both hair and clothes bothers me. This is near the bottom of a list of two or more million things that bother me so the proper grains of salt are applicable. The important thing that I learned here from old friends who are still painfully fashion conscious is that the two cycles between how you look and what you believe do actually move farther apart as you grow older. I overlooked that and feel stupid for it. It is painfully obvious in retrospect but I've never been accused of being overly empathetic with my fellow human beings.
I'm usually uncomfortable with the idea of vacations. This is mainly because I'm not financially stable in any sense and the strain on finances usually outweighs the benefits of the trip or at least quickly cancels them out once I return. This trip was not only necessary but I'm feeling better about being back now that I'm back. There's a lot more tangled up in this ball of wax but it's largely stuff that I need to think about a little more before I go shooting off my mouth.
We're leaving for SF this afternoon so I probably won't be posting anything here until at least the 10th or 11th. If you're in the Bay Area and maybe wanna hang out for coffee/beer shoot some mail to goneaway at gmail dot com. I'm not sure how consistently I'll be able to check it but it's worth a shot in any case.
The strange part is that I haven't been back to the Bay Area since I moved six years ago at the height of the bubble when it seemed like the entire city was going to be gentrified out of existence at any given moment. Being the lightning rod for unfortunate circumstances that I am, I lived smack dab in the middle of the Mission district. Over the course of six or so years it was transformed from a neighborhood where families lived and neighbors knew each other into something else entirely where people came to spend money and hang out after most of the working families were pushed out. There is something uniquely disgusting and fascinating about being able to watch a neighborhood become cool and lapse into a self parodying amusement park version of its former self. There probably isn't much there that I'd be terribly interested in or drawn to these days. It seems apropos in a sense because I'm returning six years later as a tourist. I have no idea what to expect.
I found out late last night (which is odd to say since I'm still up and moving) that our lovely country was under a Ragnarok++ alert or whatever for today. Given the fact that I hear no explosions in the distance or anything I'm assuming that this was more bait and switch than duck and cover. Maybe smash and grab would be more appropriate. I did have a huge chunk of code blow up in my face due to my overuse of a deprecated function as opposed to an assault on our freedoms which seems lately (like a fucking broken record) to be the cause of nearly everything that displeases everyone. Oh, and a bunch of Windows boxes went down for the count for no apparent reason but that happens with the regularity of the tides or the slow, inevitable growth of slime molds. So much for granularity, I guess.
Sun is out of their beady little minds. The whole idea of buying Novell to spite IBM is just so SCO. I guess when the price of your stock is actually a couple cents lower than SCO stock you start babbling like an idiot and gathering ballast for your eventual one way trip into the briny deep. Maybe designing $3k workstations that resemble Mearth's birthing egg is the future.Or not.
Window managers are becoming the new editors for people to get all worked up about. The article I'm linking isn't ultra-relevant but the comments attached to it are nasty, nasty, nasty. All you'd need to do is pitch an "emacs versus vi" argument in there and the whole thing would go thermonuclear. Yow.
Speaking of which, I guess Kahakai is dead as of June. Old and horribly messy code was cited as the reason for the last of the developers leaving. This figures because it was just becoming somewhat stable and usable. Aegis was born of the aftermath and doesn't have a release yet but it does sort of draw a root menu. It figures.
The object of this game (stupid Flash required, of course) is a feat of dexterity that I will never be able to accomplish in real life. Plus, you know, fly guts on the chopsticks.
The Market Is Like A Conversation With A Room Full Of Drunk Idiots Who Hate You And Your Operating System
Man, I've read a whole lot of weblog posts in the past twelve hours that really nail it. Jeremy Zawodny really nails it here by clarifying the difference between what a company defines as a support and how a user working with an operating system outside the pentagram of the sacred monopoly might define it. He's exactly right, though, most of us don't even want company style support. We just want to be allowed to tinker with things that people offer. It's frightening how many times I've got things working perfectly by simply spoofing my user agent string. Support me by not throwing discouragement in my face.If someone figures out a way around the support dictated limitations you're probably doing some things right as a company. Marketing is definitely not one of those things. Just think of how many people are just changing the channel. It's a whole lot more than you think.
I have a feeling that the article explaining the hack might be useful to someone I know. I've really never messed with Launch but I've heard good things about it from people who suck up multimedia like it was 1993. I'll give it a shot (for the kids) when there is more time. I'm not sure exactly when that fictional time slot will be but...