Team Murder No Brain No Headache.

29Jun/06Off

The Most Recent Mail-Pocalypse

Yesterday I had to temporarily blackhole all mail to this domain. The spam and its resulting bounces were completely out of control and I was seeing something like 1500 pieces of mail blown out of a fire hose at my mail account per hour. I know this isn't impressive for most people but it got even worse towards the end of the day. After about the twentieth notification that I was nearing the quota cut off point I finally just started flushing everything down the toilet of /dev/null. I thought it would eventually freak me out but I was more relieved than anything. Email fucking blows as both a method of communication and as an ecosystem. I also switched all of my accounts from IMAP to POP again after swearing more than once that I would never go back down that 'lost all my shit' road again.
Thunderbird also ate shit after a few hundred rounds of trying to battle the spam/bounce influx in IMAP mode. It remained broken when I switched everything to POP and didn't want to build new accounts correctly. I sat and stared at the rubble for a little while and then fired up the Apple Mail.app. I like it a lot more now that I did in early versions. Its speed has improved tremendously since the last time I used it and the integration with Spotlight is actually pretty handy. I don't know how long I'll stick with it but it's a nice stopgap measure for the short term. I have no idea if there were recent vast improvements because I didn't fire the application up until after I'd successfully installed all of the recent (10.4.7) upgrades. I have no idea.

So, I deleted around 30,000 pieces of mail yesterday without looking at any of it. If you sent me anything important then please do it again. I was able to save most of my address book from Thunderbird so almost everyone I mail regularly shouldn't get arbitrarily filtered but keep that in mind if you don't hear from me for a couple of days.

29Jun/06Off

The Urge To Destroy Is A Procreative Urge

As I go outside to have the first cigarette since roughly two o'clock this afternoon (it's now nearly eight p.m. if you're playing along at home) I am greeted with the piercing cries of what must either be a toddler with a speech focused learning disability (before you start parading around that 'P.C.' bullshit y'all are so fond of waving around like the bloody shirt for stupid consider the fact that my actual and real knowledge of child psychology borders on negative nil or its equivalent) or an infant on the fast track to puberty.

I'm rapidly annoyed but, more importantly, this also gives me a perfectly subjective instance of evolution at work with no noise and an uptime that would make *BSDers cringe. I understand that the basic function of a crying child is to summon a parent or an adult capable of resolving the situation or want. The moment I heard the grinding repetition of the endless and miserably tearful cries my teeth were clenched. This system is pretty much working.

I initially thought the same system had broken down when several minutes passed where a child was screaming with an unnerving velocity and at crippling volumes without the acknowledgement of any adult. It seemed like the entire chain had been broken until I realized that the screeching of this feral-sounding child had a secondary and auxiliary effect on me: I wanted to hunt down the people responsible for the barrage of noise and bludgeon the region in which their genitals dwell until they are incapable of banging out any more offspring. See? Evolution is self correcting and my faith in it is renewed at least in the comic/absurdist sense. In addition there is the cock punching part which is admittedly appealing.

Filed under: General 3 Comments
29Jun/06Off

This Is What You Really Need…

Just when your nightmares got more bearable someone had to go and post a video of that scary ass centipede catching and eating a bat.


Plug your ears when the narrator talks about the potency of its venom because that is information that no one needs to know.

Filed under: General No Comments
25Jun/06Off

An Unwise Investment Of My Copious Free Time

I finally caved and created a Skype account. This doesn't really mean anything since I am incredibly impatient with telephones generally and I tend to walk away from my machine pretty consistently. Anyway, it probably is easier to get in touch with me over one of the IM networks but I'm teammurder666 if you swing that way. I will only crank up the application when I have time to talk so don't feel like you're bugging me necessarily.

Filed under: General No Comments
25Jun/06Off

Yeah, But The GUI Changed

Ooops. It looks like WinFS, the only really compelling thing that a next gen Windows really had to offer other than to video card manufacturers, is permanently playing possum. This should not surprise anyone but it is a little disappointing since I have to support this shit day in and day out. I was really hoping for one less broken aspect to the operating system and had dreams of a halfway robust file system but as is nearly always the case with MSFT this was largely marketing in the Longhorn days. Instead you'll get a bloated interface that costs more than the hardware you bought to run it on. Jesus. The comments attached to the post are more brutal and specific than I could ever get as someone who is more accustomed to fixing broken Windows machines than fixing them so go read those.

Update, I guess

I've been reading a little more about what other people think about this announcement and I'm not sure that the abolition of WinFS from the operating system is quite as apocalyptic as I first thought. Tim Bray said his piece about it and some of the links he included in his post were pretty informative. It seems like a lot of folks are pretty happy that NTFS is going to stay whether they've weathered the storm of the transition with Windows 2000 or whether they're working on FOSS software that needs to place nice with NTFS. I'd entirely forgotten about the much hyped Cairo project which is probably the point here. Announce the vaporware, kill the vaporware and endure the small bit of outrage, and then announce the next batch of marketing bullshit new technology that will never make it into production and people will just keep forgetting.

25Jun/06Off

Another Project I Need To Get To Gettin’ Done

My friend Tony notified me that this site is blocked by another filtering service and in this case it is the one built into the SonicWall firewall appliance. Because I have such an affinity for four letter words this doesn't surprise me but it does remind me that I need to get to work on something I've been thinking about doing for quite a while: I want to assemble a static page here that lists as many of the look up tools for filtering agents as possible and proxies and the like that people have noted as ways to get around those filtering devices. This page will eventually appear somewhere in the link list over to the right. This post serves as a reminder to get this done.

That said I should also mention that I understand why people employ prefab filtering stuff. I also work for a state agency that is underfunded and with that job comes any number of ridiculous expectations. I don't blame anyone with more budget for technology than staff for taking the somewhat easier route to getting thankless tasks accomplished. That won't stop me from trying to share information about how to get around those technologies though because they're seldom accurate or really helpful to anyone outside the organization. This becomes especially annoying when organizations that theoretically exist to distribute information use this crap and unknowingly (in the specific details at least) neuter their capacity to provide information.

22Jun/06Off

FOSs X

Weighing in about the whole Apple open sourcing their applications debate makes me lean towards Apple letting some of that stuff go. Why? Because most of the real innovation comes from ripping off shareware developers which requires a higher degree of engineering for Apple coders when they could be making web sites about their family vacations or something. Instead of merely waiting until shareware developers have determined the market value of a feature and then devouring their constituency it would seem a shorter path to bags o'cash if there were some common code that wasn't limited to APIs and the other bits like Webkit. Less work for Apple and more control for users sounds pretty good to me and I'm joking about a lot of this but I think Tim Bray is spot on in his take on the situation and its relative advantages and disadvantages. When you have total control over both the hardware and the core software that makes the magic possible then you don't have a lot to lose if developer involvement in the platform takes an upswing.

Filed under: General No Comments
22Jun/06Off

Wireless And Gutless

Doing my coffee and wake up thing at work between telephone calls (note that anything posted before 5 a.m. will likely be an unintelligible pile of syllables) I noticed an article linked by Techdirt about the apparently fluid liability that goes along with offering open wifi at a business. This is another one of those things that is maddening since it is amazingly simply to limit access to wifi if you have the slightest clue about technology or are literate enough to RTFM. Most wireless routers are pretty easy to set up these days with browser loaded admin interface and all sorts of other goodies so excusing incompetency with 'it's just too hard to set up' are less valid than they were a few years ago. There are just too many easy analogies here like pay radio stations broadcasting over the usual AM/FM bands and then suing you for picking up their signal without paying. Granted, there is at least some question of consuming limited resources but similar to all the above ranting and raving about configuration it is fairly easy to block those you don't want connected to your network if they're perpetually sucking up your resources. I wonder if the cafe worker in question really called 911 about the man leeching their wireless from outside. Really?

Filed under: General No Comments
22Jun/06Off

The Future Is What Now?

I'm not often captivated by novel interfaces which is probably one of the reasons that more often than not I simply look askance at projects that simply meta-manipulate the terms of the desktop interface. It just seems a lot like adding a whole bunch of arbitrary complexity to a metaphor that is already being stretched like hot taffy. I feel the same way about the BumpTop interface. Yes, it is fucking cool especially in the feature demonstration mode where you can show off all of that grouping functionality and rotating on axis bling but it still seems a step towards the clusterfuck desktop that breeds the sort of intellectual laziness leads to people 'losing' files they've just downloaded by adding another layer of hierarchical complexity that can be completely altering on the fly. Prototype and all that but the only sane application I could really envision for this is as an extension of an email client as the file types there are similar and fine tuned sorting and archiving according to weird user preference might actually be advantageous. Maybe I'm just a stick in the mud for hierarchical structures but I would lose my mind in a matter of ten minutes if trapped in an environment like that.

Filed under: General No Comments
20Jun/06Off

Comes Out Punching

A whole bunch of places were passing along the announcement that Gnu-HALO actually rolled out a release which is based on Linux (specifically SLAX) instead of the originally planned BSD architecture. Yes, it is yet another live CD but the feature list should at least pique your oh-so-jaded interest. There are some good ideas at work in this project and although many of them may well be rolled into distributions I know nothing about the presentation of the features makes it sound extra special. This is killer:

Software whitelists. Under a default configuration, no application can run on the system unless it's been properly registered as an authorized application.

As I said earlier, it's probably already been implemented in other distros but that just sounds particularly kick ass and is a total pain in the ass to configure on Win32 without either purchasing some commercial application or charging into regedit and AD settings blind drunk and with both pistols drawn. I'd love to say that I'm going to take it for a spin but I can't imagine that I'll have time to do anything more than determine that it does indeed boot. I don't think they need my help testing that.

Filed under: General, New To Me No Comments
20Jun/06Off

Rapping On My Chamber Door

This guy has been haunting my inbox in the form of Korean language spam. I have no idea what sort of spying he's supposed to be doing but the next time you're by yourself in the house late at night just imagine this weird old white man positioned outside your house chuckling gently like Wilford Brimley and possibly mispronouncing 'diabetes.'

Filed under: General No Comments
19Jun/06Off

More Boring Notes On Making Shit Work

I had pieced together this long and tedious recollection about getting most of the developer tools that I need up and running on the MacBook Pro but I'm actually a little concerned with obsessing over mundane details. It's a lifelong habit of mine and I've seen it manifest itself in what I've written here more often than I'd like it to. Instead a list:

1. MySQL: The story begins and ends with me wondering why in the hell I thought compiling this from ports was a good idea. Use the stupid binary, stupid. So, yeah, now that is up and running with a few misgivings about the version I compiled a while ago not working. I especially don't like the fact that the same files were installed in the same places and suddenly they work. Did I forget the magic fairy dust? Was I aesthetically impure?

2. PHP: For PHP I did what I should've done in the first place and used the Entropy PHP module instead of dicking around so much. It works like magic. I have only begun to feel stupid. I also set up Rails while I was at it which took exactly one script and one gem update. The story is boring, okay? I'm not entirely sure that I'll even use rails for anything remotely productive but it was one more pointless troubleshooting exercise so who am I to argue?

3. Enigmail: The initial failures with this Thunderbird extension were sort of a show stopper. I can't really find a particular party to blame. I reinstalled TBird with the old files in place and it mysteriously began working. I don't like magic it makes me think of fucking Doug Henning and I want to decrypt and sign mail not get creeped the fuck out. It is working now and I have no idea why. Do you? As a side note: Macgpg was working the entire time and I was able to manually encrypt and decrypt text files.

4. Airport deciding to take a two hour lunch break at random: So, I've been experiencing a lot of wireless network connection drops which pisses me off to no end since I'd rather have my email client dealing with my spam clogged IMAP boxes while I'm sleeping than making me wait fifteen minutes to filter 3500 pieces of mail that no one wants to read before I can read the half dozen that I need to read lest all of my ties to other people be severed and overrun by crybaby users who can't remember their passwords. I wanted to blame the Airport Extreme or whatever grandiose name Apple bonged up for their wireless card but it really had to do with a firmware upgrade for my router. That was a pretty scary process that involved three consecutive failed installs that yielded errors that read something like "Update has are failing." You really can't ask for a more alarming error message than that and you're absolutely foolhardy to run the same firmware upgrade four damned times before you foil the space-time continuum of mixed tenses and bring your wireless router back away from the light. So, fewer clicks on the stupid wireless icon on the menu bar is a good thing.

Filed under: General No Comments
17Jun/06Off

Until All Of Us Are Blinded By Headaches And Eye Strain

I received the most flattering request ever this morning/afternoon from a fella in West Virginia (he included his mailing address in his email for legitimacy reasons I guess) asking permission to use the style sheet for this site. I felt really great about it until I realized that the design of this site is pure murk designed for my eye that hates and dread contrast. I hadn't looked closely at the way that its set up for a couple of years at least and now I'm serious considering a redesign or, barring the time necessary for that, hunting down another theme I actually like and hacking the hell out of it to make it work the way I want it to. In any case, thanks to Will for making me realize that and for making the alterations I made to Hari Prasad Nadig's theme go a lot further. Now, onward to searching for something new that will likely wound an equivalent number of eyes.

16Jun/06Off

Bad Memory Calisthenics

I forgot to mention yesterday that Parallels Workstation for Macintosh released yesterday. It seems pretty similar externally to the beta releases but I'm happy about that as the betas were fabulous in every sense other than the annoying 'buy the pre-release and then use a beta registration' process that previously irked me. It's still on sale so if you were considering yet hesitant before...

Filed under: General No Comments
15Jun/06Off

Yes, Yes, I Am Too Tired To Write Coherently So Here Are Some Links, Mang

Warning
I am freakishly tired and did not do a very good job of editing it. Take all things written below this line with a grain of salt produced by a shaker with a strategically loosened lid.


There were a huge number of things that I wanted to write about today. The operative word here is 'were' since this brief pit stop between showering, eating, and then sleeping has dulled my interest down to the point of disincorporation from the level of even wanting to doodle on some scratch paper. Yes, the new job sucks that much.

John Gruber whipped up a hell of a post today in response to the bring me the head of Mark Pilgrim reaction that many readers of his site had to Mark Pilgrim's post explaining his reasons for not buying Apple. I think both of the above are right on money but I'm not a real monogamist when it comes to operating systems (more on that below) so I'm probably not a likely judge of the viciousness of the bash and counter bash that took place on both sites. Most of it is backpedaling of the high on the comedy scale and low on the basis in a reality we can touch and see scale. I don't envy Gruber's readership. Really, though, you should just go read his post because the sarcasm is going to get too thick here and I'm not nearly patient enough for an AngryCommentageddon. I just delete that shit while chuckling at the turd-like wads of impotent rage bounce harmlessly off the windshield of my escape pod. I also wanted folks to go read the post at Daring Fireball because I want to spend more time talking about me and less about people grown up enough to bother with a tsunami of angry comments that I would just flush down the iToiletWeb.

I bought a MacBook Pro a while back and nearly returned the fucking thing a week later. My intent in purchasing was not only to exploit the educational discount I'm entitled to through two different colleges in two different cities but also to spend a little money on an expensive and somewhat stupid toy. I am not a switcher or a success story or anything else in the cant of marketing drums of doom or the broken record fandom of brand specific yet soulless fanboyism. I bought it mainly because I had a little bit of money to play with for the first time in what seems like a decade (this really isn't that far off the mark) and decided to see if I had a digital life or some shit like that. Actually, I kind of wanted to see how the OS had improved and with the new architecture being a little more open to alteration and alternatives the inherent platform lock in. It was a safe way to drop some change on a new machine that I had grown pretty unfamiliar with. The last experience I had with Apple in a real way was so gut wrenchingly awful and bitterly disappointing that I really had no desire to monkey with the guts of the OS for a number of years. Try setting up a whole bunch of OS 9 clients on a Mac Manager server network (and this is like 10.1 server we're talking about), have a tech from Apple spend sixteen hours trying to get the client piece working and tell you that it just isn't going to work right before buying you a bunch of pizza, and nearly lose your job as result of it and you'll feel at least some of the pain that I previously associated with the company of black turtlenecks and first character lowercase camel casing product names fetish. I'd heard good things about subsequent releases from people who I actually respect and have opinions that are almost entirely unrelated to interface so purty that only a thesaurus can sum up my true feelings toward it vibe you tend to get from people who want a flashy product and the associations television commercials convince them come along with some product or another. Ip0dZZZ are a great piece of hardware/software for them to mess with but similarly they're worse than useless when it comes to technical opinions. So, yeah, smart folks (Hello Travis and Tony if you're tuning in) told me about some of the less oh!ah!Heavens, I've stained my dungarees features that are stirred into the batter these days and I got curious.

Anyway, the point is that Mark Pilgrim is really fucking smart and together for figuring out that the brand he'd invested a lot of time and energy around and into was no longer the operating system for him. He doesn't care so much about either association (other than of the FOSS sort) or the niceties that many find so attractive about OS X but the things that really matter if the idea of moving files around across platforms ever enters your head. Not being religiously tied to your platform will certainly make this issue stand out like no other. That's where the 'toy' part comes in for me: I don't do any serious work on this machine so I'm not as upset by the weird file formats, the potential of DRM mucking up my stuff, or even the incredibly broken implementation of virtual desktops. When this particular hipster coffee shop gets too irritating and constraining I just leave. The Linux laptop sits a couple of feet away so whenever I feel like I'm trying to compute in the land of Fisher Price meets BSD and getting nowhere I can escape back into the slightly greasy garage packed full of a bunch of familiar faces that will nearly always get their hands dirty to help me build whatever rocketship the shiny happy OS has problems dealing with. Sure, they don't have funny television commercials extolling their virtues but they accomplish the things I need accomplished with a minimum of fiddling or those annoying fucking 'bing's that accompany the screen flash when you've done something bad in OS X. Again, my pieces fit together more conveniently on my Linux box when simple work needs to be accomplished and part of that has a lot to do with the fact that I'm not making DVDs of my pets or synchronizing my wardrobe with my mini-disc collection or whatever. I want a mostly working Apache/Python/PHP environment that just works. OS X doesn't do that and makes installing MySQL a total pain in the ass. The number of hoops that people have to jump through in order to do development work on OS X that isn't specific to OS X (this assumes that you're working with something other than Java of course) is somewhat ridiculous and usually when someone cooks up a non-ridiculous installer/configuration tool it is shareware by default which is an entirely different sort of nightmare.

After all of that ramble I have to wonder how long it's going to take before many of the folks who abandoned more 'primitive' operating systems for the prettiness of OS X because the new version of Enlightenment hadn't come out yet have revelations similar to the ones that have haunted me since I dropped a fuckton of money into this machine. Do you want an appealing toy that caters to the fuck around aspects of your personality or do you want a machine that doesn't always second guess you, doesn't always have every package included in the distribution the moment it comes out, and might need some configuration post-installation? Can you move between platforms confortably or are you too busy thinking of your looking glass self reflected in the empty mirror that no one is looking at?

Filed under: General 1 Comment
13Jun/06Off

Spam Subject Lines Greatest Hits

your pr man is back. weed out!

the hidden gem Ugly as a mud fence

watch it like a hawk Run to seed

Shooting Stars Stock Report You throw filth on the living

Stock Opportunities on Wall Street Shit happens

This Stunning New Report tastes like chicken

12Jun/06Off

Little Fish Chum In Shark Infested Waters

In the spirit of my new attempt at diplomacy I decided to wait a day or two before posting anything about the name change for Ethereal and after giving it careful consideration I still think it's one of the worst name changes ever. WireShark. Really. I will be soft linking all of their future release so I can look at networks without feeling like a script kiddie. I guess the change had something to do with acquisition by a company. That makes sense if the rules of corporate acquisitions have some clause about wrecking whatever it was that you intended to buy. Hooray for new old new capitalism and the glorious era it is ushering in that hardly even happened eight years ago.

Filed under: General 2 Comments
12Jun/06Off

Sometimes I Kick Puppies Too

At the end of this day, the work day that is, I can only summarize by saying that it was the embodiment of every cliche about Monday from every bad comic strip ever written. The moment that absolutely capped the day was getting yelled at by a retiree who apparently wasn't being notified (by snail mail, much less) about summer picnics her former department was holding. I hit the mute button more times than I could have imagined was humanly possible over the course of a three or so minute call before haphazardly tossing her through the cold phone lines (also completely indifferent to whether or not she received picnic invitations) to the embrace of her former workplace. Fighting the urge to say "Well, maybe they just don't want your grey and decrepit ass befouling their picnic" was really what reminded me that I am mean and closely related in psychological makeup at least to the reptilian family of horrible monsters that regard other life forms only as a potential source of food. Still, fuck, picnics may be missed. Fly the flag at half mast for chrissakes.

Filed under: General No Comments
10Jun/06Off

The Middle Of The Night May Be The Rest Of Your Life

Sometimes people who you otherwise think have something to say write things that are nothing short of jackassery. This is very much with Anil Dash's piss take on the GIMP. He explained that it was a bout of late night frustration with a free tool that isn't the most tangled snarl of Perl ever written and therefore is below contempt. I'm talking about Movable Type here in case you're running under clocked for the weekend. Yes, the libraries are a separate download on your platform of choice as they are on pretty much all others and, yes, unfortunately you do have to make more choices than 'next' when installing it. Oh, tragedy. It must have been late indeed because the magical combination of mean and stupid is anything but. He also gets bonus points from the frat boys for heh heh humorously using the word 'retard' in a public forum. Way to go, ace.

Sometimes I need to wake all the way up before posting. Later tonight I think I'm going to sit down and do a little ruminating about the differences in interface between the Adobe stuff and the free goodies. I've been fortunate enough to work on both sides of the rope pretty extensively so maybe I can hash out a few points worth making before bed tonight.

Filed under: General 3 Comments
10Jun/06Off

Random Photo Of The Random Photo Guy

More gratuitous overuse of Photo Booth and its extremely limited number of presets.

Filed under: General, Photos No Comments
9Jun/06Off

Libranet Is Officially Over

I don't really like being happy about the demise of a distribution that I once thought was worth the limitations that came with it being commercial and essentially proprietary but Libranet is finally shutting down after the founder's death a while back and the general chaos and bad business practices that followed. I actually purchased a new copy of Libranet around the time that I got my newest Acer laptop and although I did download all of the disk images none of them were actual valid ISOs. Complaining got me absolutely nowhere so I paid for a long download that yielded zero results. Months later I've still received no reply to any of the email that I sent following the initial purchase, bogus download, and increasing frustration. The current dev path of Debian has pretty much rendered most of the smaller 'easy Debian" distributions irrelevant anyway but I still miss that fifty bucks and wish that the distribution had continued if only to support the folks who had been kicking down for copy after copy over the years.

Filed under: General No Comments
8Jun/06Off

Socially Networked Musical Crap

Whoa. Pitchfork actually has an article up about digital music toys and tools that is well worth your time to at least skim. One particularly interesting part of the article is the discussion of the musicologists who work on recommendations for Pandora. That job sounds a little like it would be the most irritating and most enjoyable employment ever. Imagine being in the same room with a bunch of people who want nothing more than to recommend something to you based on your taste and what you happen to be listening to at the moment. Sounds ultimately irritating and the natural extension of this irritation of this would likely be assault charges sooo... I haven't had the opportunity to mess with Pandora yet so this talk is coming mostly out of my ass.

The article also talks a little bit about Last.fm and how it was assembled and founded. I like that it was the product of an already existing pool of music that was otherwise getting little attention from people who might dig it immensely instead of being inspired by a still wet diploma from a business college. Supply, demand, blah, blah, blah... It seems to be driven by forces that aren't strictly of the seduce, collect, and then sell variety. Yeah, they do exercise the pay money and get more features option but it isn't obnoxious. I didn't even find out about it initially because of some marketing ploy but because a friend mentioned it to me as something worth checking out. The Pitchfork article also talks a little about how sharing your playlist makes you more acutely aware of what you're playing and how the looking glass self might be portrayed by what songs they're listening to. Guilty pleasures especially when leaned heavily upon do show up. That effect alone is probably worthy of a fat gov't grant to fund a sociological study of this sort of social pressure (again I wish the w3c would hurry up and approve the sarcasm tag)

So, it's pretty good which is nothing short of amazing for Pitchfork which usually spends most of their voluminous words wasting college degrees on overly referential record reviews. Yay.

Filed under: General No Comments
7Jun/06Off

I Don’t Really Want To Believe

Since I've actually been using a MacBook Pro as my primary machine for a little over a month I feel like I actually have a reason to read the Mac/Apple rumor sites for the first time in years. My advantage in this is that I don't have any particular need to defend either the platform or the company responsible for it. I guess, in that sense, I am not the customer that Apple is looking for. I tend to agree with most of what Gundeep Hora said in his two articles criticizing first iteration Apple hardware which are here (first part) and here (follow up). The first may actually excite the brand-committed types into furious typing on their Chicklet-like keys to make excuses for Apple but the subsequent follow up seemed a wee bit too apologetic.

The one issue that he brings up rather skillfully is how clumsily Apple plays the 'small market share' get-out-of-jail-free card again and again. It absolutely depends on a very enthusiastic micro-market of users who gladly pay full price to beta test hardware. MSFT does the same thing with the notable difference being that many in the software industry will have to force their work to interoperate with MSFT crud and can then legitimize the cost of buying crap-rifice beta access as an investment towards getting a step up on their competitors. Hell, sometimes MSFT even listens to their beta testers as opposed to refusing to listen until legal action is threatened and then trying to keep recalls as quiet as possible. It makes you wonder what the fuck is wrong with people who refuse to criticize any jackass maneuver Apple makes and shouts down anyone else who might. I mean, if you really do want to spend your life grabbing your ankles and cheerleading that's great I suppose but the precedents you support are completely lame. Willful opacity backed up with itchy trigger finger legal departments doesn't make me feel all squishy about a company any more than great software imprisoned in woefully under-tested hardware does. This is especially frustrating when the whole production line is under a single umbrella. You have x number of products so why not try to follow up the Iron Chef-esque product announcements with a little bit of rubber touching the pavement?

The fact that I find this baffling and deny the claims at work that I'm an "Apple guy" because I own a laptop produced by them is probably evidence enough that Apple isn't the lifestyle brand for me. I'll concede immediately that commercial software companies are always going to provide an easy target for me but when you stack the stinking turds high enough most folks are going to notice. It amazes me in some respects that Apple still exists and I still ask myself despite the dollar amount I just shoveled into one of their products how long the uncritical loyalists can singlehandedly keep things afloat. The iPod is the answer to that I guess but I'm not very interested in consumer electronics toys with a pushy fan base. That repels me from buying anything at Radio Shack and keeps me from being anything approximate to an Apple fanatic.

Filed under: General 1 Comment
5Jun/06Off

To Mediocrity! And Beyond!

I just realized that it's now June and the four year anniversary came and went without even having to pretend that this span is somehow meaningful or something more pretentious than that if that is indeed possible. Michelle Jones just celebrated her fourth year of doing much cooler things. I'm excited that other people are feeling inspired instead of just, you know, tired.

3Jun/06Off

Test Or Something

I'm giving MarsEdit a trial run as I'm still not completely happy with the way Emacs works under OS X. I really wish this was not the case as I'm pretty accustomed to doing nearly everything in Emacs.

Update
OK. So not really. I did my test post, played with the knobs and switches and wasn't particularly impressed. I want to like clients like those but truthfully I should take the more simple route and just learn eLisp, eh? I'll stick with my much beloved and currently poorly behaved editor until I'm convinced that someone has concocted something better that doesn't cost a whole big pile of money.

Another sort of update

I did a quick Debian install on a Parallels virtual machine. It is fucking fast. I'm really impressed with how quickly it runs and how it doesn't hog resources while running. I just wish I had a permanent serial number. I'm going to be bitter about that forever.

Filed under: General No Comments
3Jun/06Off

I Blame Barris

I did some upgrades and license buying so I'm going to post a few notes. I'll try to keep it simultaneously short and detailed as I feel like Team Murder has lapsed largely into the realm of installation and upgrade notes. I don't relish being the tedious fuck so:

Just upgraded WordPress to the newest release and it was absolutely painless. Since, according to the release notes, it's mainly a bug fixing release there isn't much to see here so far. If folks who read and comment here could keep an eye out for problems I'd appreciate it.

Akismet has improved dramatically. I had problems with the initial versions as they didn't actually display the contents of comments deigned spam beyond the first couple. When you walk away from weblogging for a couple days or a week this can lead to a fair amount of messing around just to make sure that you're not deleting legitimate comments. The new version lists all of the comments that are currently in the spam quarantine and also added buttons at both the top and bottom of the screen for deleting all and clearing legitimate comments from the stigma of spamhood. I think that adding this functionality also lends more credibility to the master list of suspected spammers. Sometimes when it is late and I don't feel like even brushing my teeth before sleep much less sorting through two dozen comments that are likely spam the comments held for moderation get sent back to the void from whence they came with a quick skim. Deleting, reloading, rinsing, and repeating doesn't work well when your brain is broken by fatigue and apathy. I've probably deleted a whole bunch of legitimate comments while using the earlier version of the plugin. That shouldn't happen now that the tool actually works the way it should instead of being almost as time consuming as sorting moderated comments manually.

Also, don't make the same mistake I did and buy a Parallels license if you intend to use their software on Apple hardware. There is a beta version but they key you're given won't work with the pre-release so like everyone else who downloaded the trial version you have to generate new trial license keys on a monthly basis. I'm not sure exactly what I threw money down for other than a price break on the actual license which is appropriate as it does nothing under the assumption I'll eventually have a copy of something I don't have to continually mess with. That's usually why I buy software so I don't have to mess around with fifteen different tools to get the same result. I will not make this mistake again and will instead hoist the Jolly Roger and get cracked versions.

I just got some erectile disfunction spam from Bob Arctor. In the context of the novel (I can't. My thing disappeared) it's some great unintentional humor. Thank you random spam bot for that brief moment of respite from all the other crap I'm thinking about at the moment.

1Jun/06Off

If I Could Flush Time Down A Toilet (Slight Return)

If you've recently emailed me with a not-so-savvy subject line you should know that I recently cranked all of my spam filtering, both locally and server side, up a bunch of notches. If I've learned one thing by switching to a schedule that leaves me four or five hours a day maximum of 'free time' it's that I don't want to spend very much of that time sorting out mail. Bug me about adding you to my local address book if you haven't heard back from me. I'd much rather spend that time fully answering mail that matters and less time trying to save clever titles from the trash heap. Eventually I'll probably back off from this approach a little but at the moment I'm leaving them cranked all the way up and not letting it bother me a whole lot.

Filed under: General No Comments