Team Murder No Brain No Headache.

31Mar/05Off

Gold Star For Telephone Courtesy

Although very few people that read this stuff actually know me in dreaded real life but it's pretty commonly known that I have almost no patience. My friend Vin gets a gold star for handling a conversation interrupting cell phone call so well. He basically said this:

Well, how about if I call you when I get home because I just got on the bus and sat down next to a friend.

On occasion people are heartbreakingly brilliant.

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31Mar/05Off

That And The Easter Bunny Is A Lie

I've been meaning to lay down a few thoughts about the WordPress googlerank scandal but I actually had to do some work. This, of course, led to any number of weird discussions on IRC that spanned more than a few tangents of the possible ethical problems with the decision to generate revenue by associating WordPress with SEO scum. The truly unfortunate part is that Matt is out of the country at the moment so the furor will continue to rage unabated until he has the time and internet access to respond. I can't really defend the decision because I think it was a terrible one made without enough consideration given to the potential repercussions. That part completely sucks and I have a feeling that it's going to disappear as soon as the obligations to the aforementioned pigfuckers are fulfilled. Instead of trying to justify any decisions made by people other than myself I offer you a few things to consider while you're working this hard nugget of fiscal reality through your hinterparts:

1. Releasing software under the GPL does not indicate that the author of the software has joined a monastery and can never be influenced by pr0n, bouts of temporary insanity, or tall Yanqui dollars (oh, Aaron I do miss you.) I'm a little surprised at how many people are having fits of drop your pants in public and have furious conversations with god anxiety over this. Calm the fuck down. He's a guy who gave you some software not a false prophet or sleazy used car salesman. The bilking begins and ends right inside your beady little head.

2. The software is GPL'd. This means that you can check the entire code base out from CVS and start your own version. You can even call it Carry Nation-press if you want to. Matt already gave you that freedom by using the license that he did. Now use it dummy.

3. People keep comparing this situation to the Six Apart licensing debacle and it provides powerful evidence that people are not very bright. The license change by Six Apart changed the permitted use of future versions of their software. I moved away from their software the day after that change was announced. This 'scandal' involves a decision made by one person and doesn't adversely effect users of the software at all. The links to WordPress that come up in the default install can be removed pretty easily and aren't required by the license. You can essentially use the software from now until the end of time with nary a link back to its creator.

4. I've also heard a whole bunch of folks throwing around 'issues of trust' like it means something. Matt was not your scoutmaster and he did not touch you there. Again, what is done with the front end of the main site really has no connection to what you get as a user. The license that covers WordPress doesn't extend to other things. Others have tenously argued that the conversion of Googlerank is a violation of trust. That's a little more sketchy and difficult to really define. I'd love to hear a full articulation of this but I don't see that happening.

Ok, so it's one in the morning. Six fucking hours. Ack.

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29Mar/05Off

In Space No One Will Hear You Snoring

For some reason Fluxbox is acting all hoggy on both my work machine and the one at home. I'm not sure what exactly it's doing or why but none of the other WMs I have installed show the same lagginess. Argh. I like the lack of hassle that usually comes with Flux but, for the moment, I'm switching back to Openbox. This means a whole lotta typing just to produce a root menu that contains applications I actually have installed but the flickering screen and painful delays when switching desktops was more than I could bear anymore. There are some sexy themes for Openbox.

I'm not exactly upset about spammers being forced into bankruptcy even if the local paper tries, at least in part, to frame it as a monolithic corporation versus a little guy trying to make a buck. The amount of time and resources wasted on fighting spam is going to eventually make these tar and featherings more common. Personally I'd rather see the truck loads of lawyers rolled out than to try to fight all of the battles on the software side. Just filtering the stuff from one mailbox takes 30 seconds and I'm pretty sure that no direct email marketer is going to cut me a check for that wasted time.The spam appliance (yes, laziness and incompetence really do drive the marketplace) we use at work for the sake of not simply deleting suspected mail from ten gazillion IMAP accounts probably cost more money than I'm going to make in the next two years and all for the sake of giving the poor users a little respite from the pitchmen.

It's kind of a bummer that the Mac OS virus contest is over before it even started. The hysterical reaction that many had towards a proof of concept endeavor was also a little disappointing. I'd really be interested to find out what methods if any would actually work. I've hardly touched a Mac since the initial versions of 10 came out and I haven't been keeping up with any of the security announcements for that platform either. If nothing else it would be another chance to demonstrate that market share doesn't define the security of a platform as well. Don't be a-scairt. It won't hurt a bit.

I'm still kind of sick and bed is calling. Go read some of Monster Island or Monster Nation. Both of them are zombie fiction that is very well written despite the somewhat lame naming convention. They're novel length so go spend a little time. I'm going to sleep.

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27Mar/05Off

Second Annual Broken Spring Break

Real life when it demands more thinking than just how to get where you're supposed to be on time or whatever is not allowing for very much time spent here. I do my backups religiously but I feel almost nostalgic when I actually load the front end of the site. We were supposed to have an inspection done on the new house early on this evening but some complication with the water bill (a huge one from the last occupant that added a lien on the title) forced us to cancel for the second time. We're closing on this monstrous ball of hope, heartache, and anxiety on the first of next month. Yow. That is not that far into the future. So, neurotic rambling aside here is some crap:

Raptorman is back, sort of. Unfortunately most of the journal is no longer available online. What makes this even more unfortunate is that there were a whole bunch of entries that didn't actually make it into the book. They have apparently been banished into the void presumably for another book. Guess I'll buy the book when it comes out. Bummer about the journals though since I bought the first book and then couldn't read the journal entries that came afterward. I posted a message on the forums over there asking for clarification so we'll see.

It's probably worth mentioning that I heard about the move to the new server from a zombie fiction site that I like even more: The Morningstar Saga. It's an interesting approach. In the first few sections the emphasis is on documents which is a more detailed approach than most writers take especially since zombie fans are a pretty easy bunch to please (myself included in the aforementioned, of course) as long as you follow a few basic rules that are obvious to those familiar with the genre. The work isn't finished but the available pieces are well worth checking out.

All of the above said, I'm thinking of setting up a zombie movie and fiction related site that would separate all of that particular obsession from the obsessions I normally post about here. I don't know if I could properly apply a term like focus to a rat's nest like this but I feel like some increased boundaries and whatnot might actually motivate me to occasionally post something. At this point it's more a matter of thinking out loud but I'm always open to suggestions or critical smackdowns. Maybe it's time to embrace the macropatron plan and just concentrate on posting vaguely obscene and rambling opinions about technology matters that really concern like twelve people in the world. Yeah. Hook me us up.

I missed this Techdirt article about the imminent death of the newspaper as a dead tree artifact. There are several good comments attached to it and it seems that a lot of folks feel the same way that I do about the collection of Associated Press articles strung together under a local masthead -- it probably should retire. The Denver papers have dumped issues of at least the Sunday edition all over our block over the past few weeks and most of them are still heaped on the sidewalk. I can't think of a single reason for the paper newspaper to continually exist. They're bulky (even the tabloid editions) and difficult to read comfortably, require an insane distribution network, and abstract AP stories even further from the source. Point?

Like the hyped-to-the-hilt Ruby On Rails the Subway project is something that I need to look into when time is a slightly less precious commodity. I'm still quietly and slowly hacking away at a framework for web based games and either of them looks to a pretty good candidate. PHP is wonderful but it shows strain when pushed to its limits. Then again PHP5 is supposed to address many of these issues but the time issue, for me at least, precludes mucking around with any of it. Anyone reading here done any work with either of the above? I'm curious and I'd love to see some applications that aren't cited on the above sites. Uh, saying that I just realized that Ruby On Rails is unmasked in portage so I'm giving it a go. When I say I mean that I'm installing it not that anything in particular is going to be done with it in the next couple of months.

21Mar/05Off

New Crap To Replace The Old Crap

It's pretty obvious that I changed the theme of the site from that old and tedious stylesheet to the new and tedious theme. I had to do a fair amount of hacking on the theme to get it to work the way I wanted it to and I think I've found most of the obvious problems. If you're reading on a Windows or Macintosh machine could you let me know if there are any problems with the way you're rendering it? I haven't worked much with the new-ish theme structure in WordPress 1.5 so it's likely that I've made a couple of mistakes that won't show up when I look at it in Firefox.

Update:
Finally remembered where my brain was keeping Browser Cam, set up a trial account, and took a whole bunch of shots. Looks like, as Bad Penny was kind enough to point out, Team Murder is pretty broken in older Windows versions of Internet Explorer. Actually, CSS rendering is pretty broken in IE. I'm not sure that this is different from the last layout. Everything else (including the Macintosh version of IE 5.5) seems to work fine or at least degrade fairly gracefully. I can live with that.

20Mar/05Off

The Rapidly Populating Galaxy

I totally love Planets and I was really happy to see that there is finally a Gentoo Planet. It's probably been up and running for a while since I heard about it from the main Gentoo site where I don't often visit. I know others have expressed less positive opinions about the utility of Planets and some of them are somewhat valid like the dilution of mailing lists for the less conversational weblog format. I can't imagine a Planet ever replacing the traditional mailing list but they are incredibly nice for people like me who are non-developer users that want to keep up with developments on a not-quite-so-granular level but couldn't sanely keep up with the dev lists. There are a lot of fucking dev lists for any distribution and, archived or no, I don't really have the time to dig around just to get a general sense where development work is going. So, I'm happy to be able to pop in and casually check things out especially for Gentoo which I actually use and love.

Filed under: General, New To Me No Comments
14Mar/05Off

When You Hear The Sound Of The Chime It’s Time To Turn The Page

The great irony with the concept of spring break is that the still n' deep pond of undergraduate academia gets all stirred up and muddy before and afterwards. This means, for those outside of the way-too-old-for-undergrad world of failure and ineptitude, that fucking everything is due this week. I wonder if in other countries that have a more staid idea of how to deal with leisure time if everyone exhausts themselves just-in-time for a vacation to avoid hospitalization for exhaustion. So, it's been a dead week although I've had a few ideas that I thought were worth writing about during post-midterm, pre-break academic clock punching but they didn't age particularly well.

I've been watching the gnashing of teeth over the change in AOL Terms of Service with vacant amusement. It really is amazing how much freak sauce can be generated by a single person actually reading a license never mind the fact that they've been agreeing to its terms of use for-fucking-ever. It seems like most people have figured out that AOL was talking about publicly posted stuff and not private instant messenger conversations now so it really isn't worth the steel wool on raw knuckles explanation I'd initially prepared for those attempting to navigate legalese with only an asshound for a guide. Clarification of sorts from the mouth of the horse on its way to the glue factory. The only thing that astounds me about AOL is that it still exists in any meaningful form. Every time that I see that acronym in a headline I can't help but think that it might as well be telling me that unicorns are now in season or something.

I ordered and recently received Apocalypse End: Reign of the Dead and would heartily recommend it if you've wasted as much time as I have on atrocious zombie fiction and are looking for something with a little more depth. One criticism that I've seen from nearly every living dead fansite is that there really isn't a whole lot of zombie action in the novel. Duh. Nearly anything that falls into that oh-so-delectable genre of apocalyptic horror is going to be very heavy on character development and building a setting realistic enough to enable even jaded fucks like me to suspend disbelief for an hour or two. I read the book in something like two hours with only a short coffee making break between sessions. It's quick and enjoyable reading but of the sort that doesn't leave you feeling like you've wasted that time entirely. I have to say that the scientific explanation posited in the end of the novel is one of the better ideas I've heard especially in tandem with Barnhart's rationale for the dead wanting to consume the living. The novel also contains a short bit from the perspective of a captured zombie which is one of the few that I've seen/read since most films and fiction alike tends to avoid that sort of switch. It's understandable since it isn't a task that most would really bother with. He handles it deftly, though, and its brevity probably helps make it more palatable and engaging. I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of the first book in the series and another two hour zombie geek out session before I attack the next stack of books for Postcolonial Literature.

Jesus. The whole debacle over NY Times potentially charging for access to the online edition is so ridiculously futile that it's difficult to find a defensible point in their argument. I love the fact that the first comparison the above piece makes pits the iTunes store and Xbox Live against newspapers. Given that comparison newspapers will always lose. I've often wondered why most newspapers, as a single use advertising delivery system, still exist. The next time you pick up a print edition of a newspaper look at how much of the news you're getting for your two bits is actually generated by the paper in question. It's a miniscule amount and most of the crap that we read is coming straight from the Associated Press wire. The next time that a big story (the suicide of Hunter S. Thompson was a wonderful example) breaks compare three or four major news sites coverage of it and notice how the text is exactly the same for each of them. For me, that's the biggest problem with charging for news: it isn't fucking news but reprint from a news agency. I dread watching the horrible flash advertising at Salon but at least I get something for my efforts afterward that isn't available anywhere else. It just seems like another attempt to protect outmoded distribution models profitable that is probably going to draw the support of some loyalists (which might be substantial given the prestige of the paper) and drive away a whole lot more. Whatever. I can suck AP feeds from nearly anywhere else without worrying about linking something that requires registration BugMeNot aside. Yeah. What the cartoon said.Oh, and for the squeeze tube for media format the news is equally bleak.

There's an interesting popularity comparison of CMS systems over at Drupal HQ. I have to say that I've been rather interested in the development of CivicSpace over the past couple of days. I didn't know of its existence until Matt linked 'em up and the site is still missing some chunks. Drupal might be my first choice if I had some real content to manage as both their pace of development and the direction it seems to be headed in seem pretty damned smart.

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7Mar/05Off

More Dollars Dancing On Your Ass

I nearly forgot to mention that I bought an overly expensive one inch button maker. Eventually I'll be selling my services cheaply after I deal with a few batches of incompetent friend fodder to see how time consuming and headache inducing the whole process is.

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7Mar/05Off

Explosive Kung Fu Stump Removal Kit

Christ. It's been a busy week and end. I've been trying to catch up reading that I'm woefully behind on. It's a little bit just in time as I'll have to start writing papers based on this reading that I've alleged digested immediately afterward. So much for critical thinking. We're also dealing with buying a house and getting ready for Korea and Japan in two months. Everything is sticking together like paste more to Yoon's credit than mine. I have been reading up on any and everything house rearing related which calms and causes panic simultaneously. Right now I am researching wrought iron and its many forms. I guess we should work on getting, like, a stove and stuff first but that is a mere detail. That's where devils are kept I've heard. The process is a 'learning experience' in the best and worst senses of the term. It is necessarily constructive (good) because, for us at least, most of our fortunes are tied up in this single investment (bad).

I noticed today that my favoritest of favorite zombie fiction sites, Day By Day Armageddon, is gone. You can still get most of what was posted there by buying it from Lulu but I was really disappointed to see the site simply gone. A little searching and I've found out next to nothing about its vanishing. Shame.

Newsforge has another article about FOSS software available for Windows and,as is to be expected, it isn't complete by any means but it is a starting point for the curious. People are often very quick to flame efforts like this without considering that a huge majority of Windows users who are aware of the marketable obsolescence of MSFT product are waylaid on that thankless planet at their workplace. Applications are the one area of flexibility that some people have and I can't summon up the self righteousness to damn any best effort at digging oneself out from under that particular burden. I've often found people that I've recommended the biggies (like Firefox and OpenOffice.org) to come back looking for suggestions if only to simplify their software requirements. AbiWord is another piece of software available on a whole bunch of different platforms that I like to recommend. It doesn't come with two gazillion doodads that are utterly useless to someone looking to process some words and that makes it a rare commodity among those accustomed to the commercial software feature glut. Yeah, guess what? And as someone who provides desktop support to a pretty diverse set of users I feel qualified to comment on this: people really do like focused applications that do a good job at what they're supposed to do. Unfortunately, and this goes for the commercial and FOSS folks alike, very few sales originate with users. That isn't an axe I often grind but and doesn't describe my nightmarish tastes for the infinitely configurable but there it is. Virtual desktops are always a big question too.

Huh. Looks like AOL is ditching its spyware partnerships. Good for them but it does lead one to question why the fuck a company that marketed itself as a safer alternative to that scary, scary Thunderdome of an internet would ever do something like that to begin with. Send the interns out to sell plasma first for chrissakes. I suppose it is good that they're reviewing their policies and adapting to the plague but when you're slowing sinking into a tarpit I suppose everything feels cutting edge.

More making fun of yourself by making fun of others over at kuro5hin. Given enough impenetrably thick craniums any stupid idea is front page material. I don't ask for your money, don't ask to be voted up, don't display advertising, and I'll be the first to admit that nearly all of what I write here is cosmic navel contemplation. It's my luck day, though, because I don't need a snarling pack of Nu-libertarians to back me up. I'll also freely admit that most people who weblog exclusively about their work are excruciating at best but I'd much rather have them occupied in a cubicle far away from mine than busting into my space to show me some lame ass movie preview every ten minutes. There's nothing wrong with working at work, kids, and someday if you're very, very lucky you might ever find a job doing something that isn't long periods of excruciating boredom punctuated with inane conversations and those marches to the death called 'meetings' in the management vernacular. May you be so lucky.

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5Mar/05Off

The Empty (Stupid) Gate

I'm sort of thinking out loud here but I assume that I'm not the only person using WordPress or otherwise that's having their server assaulted by a comment spammer bot leaving empty comments. It's probably safe to say that the man behind the curtain doesn't know what the fuck he's doing since the only product of this ongoing comment script slamming is a flood of emails that only I see. They're all from the same IP address so it doesn't look like an attempt to poison a blacklist. I might be thinking about this a little too hard...

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4Mar/05Off

No Monopoly On Terrible Ideas

Here's an interesting strategy for MSFT in countries where piracy is rampant if only because the US dollar cost for software makes a thing like an operating system cost more than most people earn in a month or even several months: rat your supplier out for a discount on a legal version. I'm fully aware that this program has already rolled out in other countries but I'm also really curious how horribly this is going to fail. Chasing down individual pirates is one of the more pointless endeavors that any multinational could engage in. When a goodly percentage of the population can't afford the product you sell and, so unfortunately, deem it necessary to simply have a functional computer then new bootleggers are going to appear a lot more quickly than you can swat them down. Jesus. Just wait until sites start popping up that supply updates and patches without verification.

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3Mar/05Off

Things Go Better With Less Of Next To Anything

It's fucking late and I'm not motivated. Papers, even on the extended deadline because professors manage time like I manage socks, are not motivating me to do much other than whine.

We won the lottery on a Teacher Next Door house this afternoon. That's as far as we've gotten on it and because so much like closing and whatnot looms in the future I don't want to get too excited or detailed about it quite yet. It's one of the few that we've actually wanted so I suppose that says something. More details as they are warranted. It's something to think obsess about anyway.

Bob, take note of this: Monoppix is live CD for Mono twiddling that seems perfect for folks that want to tinker around with Mono without installing a bunch of unstable/testing/etc packages on their otherwise pristine and functional desktop. I want the equivalent for Java (as much as I might despise it) and Python now.

I've been pretty far away from nearly everything today. Expect even less in the immediate future.

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